Since 2003, the Polar Challenge Race has been taking place every year with competitors in three persons team racing on skis 320 nautical miles across the Arctic to reach the 1996 Magnetic North Pole.
BBC's television show Top Gear, approached Toyota GB with the idea of undertaking the Challenge in a car, something never before attempted. Because of its proven toughness the Toyota Hilux was chosen for the job. They planned to pit the car in a race against the tried and tested method of getting around in the Arctic - dog sled.
In the harsh environment of the Arctic even the Hilux was going to need some help. So in December 2006 specialists at Arctic Trucks in Iceland set about preparing the Hilux for its gruelling adventure. The pioneering journey was the culmination of months of planning between Toyota (GB), engineering experts Arctic Trucks from Iceland, the organisers of the 2007 Polar Challenge and the Top Gear production team.
Arctic Trucks role in the expedition was to make the necessary modifications of the cars to make sure they were able to cope with this huge ordeal, to drive the support vehicles and be ready to fix damaged vehicles in case needed. To get more information on how we came to the conclusion what modification were necessary please click “here”. Three members of Arctic Trucks staff took part in the expedition; Hjalti V. Hjaltason and Haraldur Pétursson who were mechanics and drivers, and Emil Grimsson Chairman who advised and accompanied the expedition. Emil kept a diary during the expedition, from which you can read some parts “here”.
Arctic Trucks has previously taken part in big expedition and the experienced staff of Arctic Trucks did a great job in making the Hilux ready to meet the difficult conditions on the Magnetic North Pole. Expeditions are of great importance for Arctic Trucks. They provide the ultimate test of the designs and the ingenuity of Arctic Trucks’ technical personnel and a unique opportunity to try out the vehicles under the worst possible conditions. The results in this expedition were quite straightforward and extremely pleasing: Arctic Trucks passed the test with flying colours.
The Hilux carried a wide range of kit designed to address the special risks of driving in such extreme conditions. Click here to get the technical details for the Hilux.