The Score International Baja 1000 is a race that’s renowned for its brutality and entering its 53rd year, it certainly lived up to the hype, so we caught up with a few of Team Toyo’s drivers to get their take on the 2020 race.
A gruelling 898.40 mile / 1445.83 kilometre pro class course map was set for the 2020 race that saw a serious chunk of the field receive a Did Not Finish (DNF) for failing to cross the finish line within the race’s 40-hour time limit, which is almost par for the course at this punishing event.
“Every year we sit here in front of you guys and say ‘this is the toughest Baja 1000 yet’; well, this IS the toughest Baja 1000 yet,” says Team Toyo driver and 2019 Baja 1000 winner, Alan Ampudia, who placed 7th overall this year and recently blasted his trophy truck through the streets of Ensenada, Mexico with Lil Jon riding shotgun.
“There’s probably 50 times more dangerous obstacles and narrow paths and cliffs here than there has been in any other Baja 1000” adds BJ Baldwin, a back-to-back 2-time Baja 1000 winner who finished 14th overall this year and is a perfect example of how many things need to go right to stay at the front of the field in endurance races like this.
“You never know what Baja is going to throw at you,” continues Bryce Menzies, a veteran of off-road racing who lists the Baja 1000 as his favourite race and found himself on the podium in 3rd this year despite 45-minutes of downtime from a broken steering box. “You could be leading the race by an hour and have a $5 part fail and lose the race.”
“Tyres are the number one important thing on the race car on race day,” Andy McMillin chimes in thoughtfully as a 5-time Baja 1000 winner and co-driver with Menzies for 2020. “I mean, if you don’t have any confidence in your tyres, you know you don’t have any confidence in your race or in your game or in your strategy.”
“We built with Toyo I think the best tyre around,” says Bryce Menzies in support. “The traction, forward bite, side bite, withstanding sidewall punctures, which is huge, and then also wear; making sure that we can go 250 miles on one set of tyres before we have to change them.”
Building on the Open Country M/T’s rugged reliability, the Open Country M/T-R is a race-only tyre that uses a cut/chip-resistant compound with construction similar to its road-going counterpart to create a tyre that excels in high-speed motorsport like the Baja 1000 with the global motorsport success to prove it.