The Baja 1000 on 15–20 November will see an all-Japanese crew attempt to tame the desert of Baja California as Workforce JAOS makes their SCORE Worldwide début. The crew will area a brand new Lexus LX600 for Tomonori Noto within the Inventory Full class, and the automobile was revealed in early July earlier than shakedowns formally started a month later.
Workforce JAOS (“Japan Australia Offroad Service”) was based in 2015 to have fun the thirty-year anniversary of their namesake and mum or dad firm, an SUV components producer. The operation started competing within the Asia Cross Nation Rally that 12 months with Ikuo Hanawa driving a Toyota FJ Cruiser earlier than Noto, a mechanic for JAOS, took over as everlasting driver starting 2016. Hanawa and Noto ran the 2015 Baja 1000 collectively, racing a Nissan HBR-6 in Class 7 however failing to complete.
Moreover a brand new driver in 2016, the crew switched to the Toyota Hilux, which was imported from Thailand (the place the AXCR is held) because the Japanese market wouldn’t obtain it till 2017. KYB Company engineer Kazuhiro Tanaka turned Noto’s co-driver in 2017. Two years later, the duo received the AXCR’s T1G class.
“The AXCR is a cross-country rally, so there have been each day breaks. However, the Baja 1000 is an off-road race, so as soon as it begins, it’s continuous till the end with refuelling, tyre altering, and restore work for broken components,” Noto told Motor-Fan.jp in late July. “Subsequently, when you’ve got huge hassle, you will be unable to get well throughout the time restrict, and it’s a powerful competitors that you’ll retire at that time. The driving stage can also be very totally different: the AXCR is especially muddy terrain and jungle, however the Baja 100 is especially in rocky areas and deserts, so the way in which of working and constructing the automobile are fully totally different.”
JAOS allied with Toyo Tire Company in 2020, and Noto was named Toyo’s “Open Nation” off-road tyre model ambassador a 12 months later. When COVID-19 resulted within the AXCR’s cancellation, the crew continued creating their programme domestically earlier than heading to North America to compete in Greatest within the Desert‘s Vegas to Reno in 2021, the place they fielded a Polaris UTV for Noto. Nonetheless, he retired from the race whereas fellow Japanese driver Akira Miura received his class. Noto returns to the Vegas to Reno subsequent week within the UTV Turbo Professional class.
In Might, JAOS introduced their Baja 1000 ambitions with the LX600. The LX collection of SUVs has loved success on the 1000 over time as Joe Bacal and his LX570 received the Inventory Full class in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Whereas Lexus is a part of Toyota, the producer change got here to advertise JAOS’ new partnership with the posh model, which was revealed on the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.
The 2022 Baja 1000 is framed as the primary part in a “three-year plan” for JAOS: the primary 12 months shall be to look at the crew’s efficiency, the second has a objective of ending whereas the third goals for victory. JAOS additionally nte
“From subsequent 12 months, we plan to roll out suspension and different merchandise within the North American market, and to that finish, we’re aiming to enhance our model energy with a view to take part within the Baja 1000,” Noto continued.
For testing on the flip of this month, the SUV was rebuilt after being torn down for refurbishment following the Gunma Elements Present three weeks prior. Regardless of being a newly assembled automobile, JAOS said it carried out with out main concern.
“This can be a course I’ve pushed within the Asia Cross Nation Rally Hilux,” Noto started, “however to date the drive really feel of the LX600, which is totally totally different from the physique to the suspension, is superb. From right here on, we’ll additional refine the main points for the primary battle on the Baja 1000.”