• May 30, 2008
The famous Baja 500 begins today in Ensenada, CA, and one of the more interesting dirt racers discovered by our friend Mike Levine at Pickuptrucks.com is the Tundra D-Cab PreRunner from TForce Motorsports. It looks good, has ridiculously huge King off-road racing shocks, and it's owned by former Indy 500 champ Danny Sullivan, but that's not what makes this rally racer unique. Power for the PreRunner comes from none other than GM's LS2 small-block. TForce crew member Matt Riggle told Levine that the team chose the 375-hp, 400 lb-ft powerplant because of its reliability, as well as its ability to run on regular Pemex gas that's much cheaper than facing fuel.

For the record, Toyota does not sponsor team TForce or its hopped-up PreRunner, but you can imagine that choosing a GM engine over one by Toyota because of reliability isn't exactly what the folks in Aichi, Japan like hearing.

[Source: Pickuptrucks.com]


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  • 45 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "In off road racing, reliability = simplicity and there's nothing simple about Toyota's V8."

      And there's nothing simple about replacing the camshaft after it snaps!

      I'd take a small block chevy over any Toyota V8.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Great choice of engine!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      As Dan said, this whole article is a joke!!! It constantly mixes information about the T-Force pre-runner and their race truck. The Pre-runners, there are two of them, are built off the Tundra CrewMax chassis. Two brand new trucks were delivered to Arciero Racing in Foothill Ranch, CA, two months before they were available to the public. The trucks were completely stripped down and rebuilt, using the stock frame rails under the original cab. These trucks run the Chevy motors.

      The race truck was built by SPD and is an all tubular chassis and does run a Toyota motor. Check the TForce website for specs... http://www.tforcemotorsports.com/

      TomR - Pre-Runners are the vehicles that are used to pre-run the course before the race. Toyota threw the moniker on the Tacoma as a marketing name for the specially packaged version. The article isn't referring to the model of the truck, but rather the use of the truck.

      And yes, Toyota's own Ivan “The Ironman" Stewart pre-ran in a modified LandCruiser which had a Ford motor and fully modified suspension.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It was probably mostly done because of cost. What parts are made for the Toyota 5.7 on a performance level? I'm sure building an ls2 with off the shelf parts is cheaper then designing everything on your own.

      The motors if built to be equivalent should be just as reliable. Its obvious which would cost more
        • 6 Years Ago
        umm joe gibbs?
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...and the motor used in NASCAR carries pretty much the same exact specs for each manufacturer. It's based on a Dodge design from the late 60s, Hemi-headed, and it's a 358 cid engine.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Joe Gibbs does not use anything near a derivative of the motor found in the Tundra or any Toyota
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Toyota NASCAR engine is based on all three domestic racing engines. When Dodge rejoined NASCAR, the sanctioning body gave them a Ford and a Chevy engine to base theirs on and they proceeded to create an engine from a clean sheet of paper that is in no way related the Mopar small block of years past.

        The Toyota engine is based on design elements of all three of these engines. All NASCAR Toyota teams use engines built by TRD and do not build their own, unlike the teams running Ford, Chevy or Dodge engines. Joe Gibbs Racing used in-house built engines in NASCAR's All-Star Race a couple of weeks back and experienced engine failures.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I love how the engines we use in top fuel, NASCAR, and sprint car are all Dodge based.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'd be surprised if there even is a Toyota v8 race engine builder in the USA.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Its well known that GM makes some of the best V-8's on the market. Reliability wise they are hard to beat, and they sure can pack some power without the added weight of Overhead cams or forced induction. The LS3 and LS7 are perfect examples of tried a true engineer...reliable, powerful yet simple.
      • 6 Years Ago
      facing fuel?
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you are on a budget and want to win, you'd choose the Chevy motor too. I bet more development hours have been put into the smallblock chevy than any engine in history.

      Sounds to me like it's just being smart.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Facing fuel?

      Funny how "Toyota reliability" falls short when compared to the venerable OHV.
      Now we wait for the Hp/L crowd to crash the party.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That makes sense. Why not have the most reliable V8 engine. Toyota surely doesn't based on their problems with this truck as well as its engine.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How is the article title: "Toyota team runs GM-powered Tundra in Baja 500" accurate when they are not a Toyota-sponsored team at all?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Corey- you'd be right if the frame and other components were actually Toyota. This team just bought a Toyota shell to put on their Chevy engine vs. a Chevy shell. As tankd0g stated: "...it's a tube frame chassis built by SPD Products, the only thing Toyota on this thing is the decal."

        So go ahead and try again- what about this truck is a "Toyota platform"? Why not call it a Chevy platform with a Toyota shell on it? It is certainly more Checy that Toyota, since all that is Toyota about this "platform" is the shell and decals. This was done to get headlines, and you are one of the MANY fools who fell for it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Vik,
        You're in idiot!! It's obvious you don't understand the role of this truck. It's also obvious you have no idea the history between between Toyota, TForce Motorsports, Danny Sullivan or the Friedkin family. Before flapping your piehole you need to buy a clue.... Hey... I tell you what, go ask Steve Hengeweld or Chad Ragland racing the Toyota Tundra Trophy truck "hey how come you can use the Toyota name?!?"
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're looking too deep into the title, there's a difference between a manufacturer sponsored team and a team using a certain manufacturer as their platform. Either way they can still be called a [INSERT MANUFACTURER] Team.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's a Tundra like Toyota's NASCAR car is a Camry.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A modified LS2 small block is still a small block. The engine is a lot closer to what's in a production GM vehicle than that truck is to a Toyota truck.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

      Especially because Toyota is America's most loved, err, discounted pick-up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        actually the Dodge 1500 is America's most discounted truck with some $14,000 in discounts between the cash back to the buyer and cash back to the dealer...But why get hung up on facts??
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, really. The Toyota is a fine pick-up, if you pose first and work second.
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