Toyota PPI Trophy Truck 015

In 1983, Toyota joined forces with Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) in an effort to diversify their motorsports portfolio. This partnership lead to, among other successes, an off-road racing team that dominated the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Stadium Series while accumulating 27 wins and seven championships in the SCORE Desert Series. Though the team was comprised of many talented hands, legendary off-road racer Ivan “Ironman” Stewart stole the spotlight. A 2006 inductee in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Stewart earned his nickname by completing entire desert races without a navigator or relief driver. His efforts lead to several records including most all-time MTEG wins (17) and most Baja 500 wins (17).

For 17 years, PPI and Stewart ruled the intensely competitive world of off-road racing, even taking first at the 1998 Baja 1000. That victory, along with four Baja 500’s were accomplished using chassis number 015. Built in 1993 to replace PPI’s aging 010 chassis, the 015 would become the Master’s thesis and, ultimately, final product of a remarkably successful off-road team.

At the core of this truck is an aluminum 302 cubic inch V8. Loosely based on the 1UZ-FE Lexus engine. The race version retains the DOHC/four-valve configuration but little else. Though the component list features familiar names such as JE Pistons and Carrillo Rods, every internal part has been custom built to PPI’s specifications. Fuel is pulled from a custom 42 gallon fuel cell and distributed by eight EFI throttle bodies controlled by a Weber/Redline ECU. With a 13:1 compression ratio, the mill is good for over 550hp with a flat torque range from 4,000 to 7,500 rpm. Exhaust is channeled through a tuned stainless steel Borla system with USFS-approved spark arrestors. At idle, the truck is surprisingly quiet but a quick blip of the throttle ensures this is a purebred racer.

Backing the aluminum powerplant is a custom PPI transaxle utilizing a 5-speed Hewland VGC 200 gear selection box often seen in GTP racing. With a vehicle capable of doing in excess of 135mph across the dunes, the suspension had to be tough. The front and rear both utilize a double A-arm setup featuring PPI coil overs with internal position sensitive shocks that can be tuned for compression and rebound. Only the rate of the Eibach springs varies between the two ends. The setup is good for a total of 22 inches of travel, making small jumps a simple matter. When the desert roads wind, steering is kept light thanks to a PPI V2 power rack and pinion with ram assist. This setup feels more natural to turn at low speeds than many of the smaller race cars we’ve seen. Braking power is distributed to a four wheel disc setup utilizing PPI rotors, Brembo calipers and a Tilton master cylinder. The whole setup rides on sturdy PPI custom 17” x “7 48-bolt beadlock wheels wrapped in tall BF Goodrich 37” x 17” T/A KR’s.

Inside, the driver is placed in the center of a hand fabricated aluminum chassis. Despite the middle seat configuration, control layout is familiar with all instrumentation directly in front of the driver and the gear selector positioned to the right. The left hand side of the dash is dominated by toggle switches that control the twelve Hella HID spotlights used to illuminate the desert at night. The right side contains switches for the ignition, fuel pump, fans and other traditional pieces most enthusiasts are familiar with. Overall, the interior is far less restrictive than most race vehicles with plenty of room on either side of the seat. The seat itself is a heavily padded Mastercraft piece with a Simpson four-point harness keeping the driver in place during tough landings. With such long stretches of track performed at once, the driver has to be prepared for anything. The truck is well supplied with a tool kit, Maglite, and hydration system all within arms reach.

With the exception of additional lighting, the trucks carbon/kevlar shell has been restored to its appearance at the Baja 2000. For that race, Ivan Stewart was paired with fellow off-road icon Larry Roeseler who drove the second leg of the race. Both names are featured on the #11 number tag behind the cab. Though the composite body has seen a few different paint schemes, this one is an accurate representation of the truck’s final competition appearance. All paint and bodywork was performed by former PPI employee Chris Hukill of Hukill Paint and Graphics.

Source: RK Motors

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