FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov. 11, 2009)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is partnering with Toyota to form the Toyota Cooper Tires Team to compete in the 2010 Dakar Rally, which is scheduled to be held in South America.
The grueling Dakar world class off-road competition attracts drivers from across the globe. They will compete Jan. 2–17 throughout Argentina and Chile's unique terrain. The event will be broadcast globally on the SPEED Channel, CCTV-China and Eurosport.
The Toyota Cooper Tires Team will pilot a Toyota Land Cruiser KXR (T2 Class) running on Cooper Discoverer STT tires through what the tire maker called some of the most extreme conditions on earth.
Cooper said its Discoverer STT is a premium high-void, off-road light truck traction tire “designed for drivers who want the utmost in off-road traction.” It's offered in a wide range of commercial and large diameter flotation sizes and is designed for use on pickups, SUVs and off-road vehicles.
Since the Dakar rally, an off-road endurance race, was launched in 1978, it has taken drivers from Paris to Dakar, Senegal. But because of political instability in Africa, the 2009 Dakar was run in South America—the first time the race took place outside of Europe or Africa.
The Dakar event features true off-road vehicles rather than the modified sedans used in typical rallies, according to Findlay-based Cooper. Most of the competitive special sections are held off-road, with participants crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks and other hazards. Lengths of each stage vary from short distances up to 500-560 miles per day.