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The key upgrades to this year’s HINO500 Series Car 2!

27 April 2017

The HINO500 Series Car 2 finished at 8th place overall in Dakar Rally 2017 and the team continues to upgrade the truck to evolve it even further. We spoke with Mitsuru Enomoto and Takashi Yamashita from Hino Motors Technical Research Center on some of the key upgrades that were made to the truck.

Early in June two men were on Hino Motor’s Ibaraki test tracks observing the HINO500 Series Car 2 as the team conducted their shakedown of the truck. These two men were Mitsuru Enomoto and Takashi Yamashita from Hino Motors Technical Research Center, and members of the development team that launched the current model of HINO500 Series Dakar Rally racers. We asked them about the key upgrades made to the truck this year.

― What are some of the changes that you made to the truck this year? 
Enomoto: We made modifications to how the truck’s rear axle steering behaves during turns. The truck’s stability is determined by the way the rear axle steers the truck when the driver turns the steering wheel to make turns. For the first time, we designed the rear axle to give a zero steering angle during turns (roll neutral steering). By doing so, we were able to eliminate changes in behavior where the truck makes sudden direction changes during turns. This means that the driver is able to keep his foot on the gas pedal with peace of mind.

Mr. Mitsuru Enomoto from Hino Motors Technical Research Center.

― What were your impressions after seeing the truck perform on the race tracks? 
Enomoto: I got that impression that it's driving was very stable. The driver has also told us that the truck is responding more naturally to steering inputs.

― How well do you think the truck has turned out? 
Enomoto: I actually drove the truck during preliminary tests to see how its steering stability and riding comfort have improved. I believe that its racing truck designed suspension system has reached quite a high level of perfection.

― What are some of the changes that you made to the truck this year?
Yamashita: Based on our experience from last year’s Silk Way Rally, we boiled things down to two areas: Improve the durability of the transfer and the dog clutch on the center differential. We mounted the HINO500 Series Car 2 with a new transfer made in Austria. Currently, the oil temperature is running a bit high, but I think we can take care of that by installing an oil cooler. The dog clutch broke down last year, and I think we have been able to improve its durability by increasing its diameter. We also replaced the rear axle differential with a mechanical LSD (Limited Slip Differential). I was glad to hear that the driver got a good feel for the truck after he actually drove it.

Mr. Takashi Yamashita from Hino Motors Technical Research Center.

― You say that you received positive feedback from the driver, that he got a good feel for the truck. What were some of the specifics of what he had to say?
Yamashita: He told us that the truck’s attitude felt much more stable during turns. As average racing speeds go up, we need to eliminate behaviors that can cause nervousness for the crew as much as possible. Our most important aim was to enable the driver to keep the truck stable while maintaining speed without having to push the truck too hard.

― How well do you think the truck has turned out? 
Yamashita: I think the truck’s performance is assuredly better than last year. We have completed almost all of the upgrades for this year, so I’m hoping that we don’t have any major problems in the Silk Way Rally.

Below are other upgrades that the HINO500 Series Car 2 has undergone to further evolve it from its previous iteration.

= Other major changes

New HINO500 Series cab design

New brake pad material for better high temperature durability

Roll bar relocated further towards the back for improved driving position

HINO500 Series Silk Way Rally 2017 Racer Specs

Car no. Car 2
Length 6,370mm
Width 2,500mm
Heigh 3,150mm
Wheel base 3,970mm
Gross vehicle weight 7,400kg
Engine model A09C-TI (with turbo intercooler)
Engine type 4-cycle in-line 6 diesel
Displacement 8.866L
Max. output/rotation 670ps/2,300rpm
Max. torque/rotation 230kgm/1,200rpm
Fuel tank 700L
Drive system Full-time 4WD
Transmission Six forward and one reverse
Transfer With Hi-Lo range switching
Tires XZL 14.00R20