HINO Team Sugawara Finishes 10th in the Dakar Rally 2023 with Allison-Equipped Hybrid Truck

The truck equipped with the Allison 3000™ Series demonstrated superior driving performance during the 45th running of the world’s toughest annual motorsport competition.

TOKYO, February 21, 2023 – Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified vehicle propulsion solutions and the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions for commercial and defense vehicles, provided Allison 3000 Series™ transmissions to HINO Team Sugawara (Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Somemiya and Yuji Mochizuki), who placed 10th overall in the trucks category of the Dakar Rally 2023, the world’s toughest annual motorsport competition.

The race started from Sea Camp on the northwest coast of Saudi Arabia on December 31, 2022 and traversed inland to Dammam on the east coast on January 15, 2023, covering a total distance of 8,549 kilometers. Along the way, in the Rub al Khali Desert in southeastern Saudi Arabia, known as the Empty Quarter, the most difficult part of this year's competition, the contestants contended repeatedly with sand dunes with large, varying height differences. The challenging course’s soft sand had to be driven through carefully to prevent rollovers, requiring extremely high technical skills from both the vehicle and the driver. HINO Team Sugawara raced with a HINO 600 Series hybrid truck equipped with an Allison 3000 Series transmission through extreme conditions including torrential rains, a first for HINO Team Sugawara.

"Each year, as the technical capabilities of the cars competing in this event improve, the course becomes more and more difficult,“ said Teruhito Sugawara, a Dakar Rally 2023 driver and the team’s representative. “An unexplored course, the Empty Quarter was the toughest I have ever experienced. The dunes that appeared one after another were very bumpy, and the sand was very soft, so it was very nerve-wracking to drive on.”

“While most of the 55 competing vehicles, including quick support vehicles, had large-displacement engines, our truck was very small, with an engine of less than 10 liters, and was the only small-displacement engine,” said Sugawara. “In order to participate in VISION 2030, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of global warming and climate change, the team shifted to a hybrid vehicle to supplement the power of the small-displacement engine, which was charged to the battery every time the driver decelerated, such as when cornering, and the motor assisted during acceleration to boost acceleration power and to overcome difficult spots.”

With a manual transmission, when shifting gears while driving up inclined dunes, there is an increased risk of torque loss and the vehicle getting stuck or overturning, but with the Allison transmission, there is no torque loss when shifting gears, allowing seamless shift changes, which we feel leads to an overall improvement in time,” said Sugawara. “The extremely heavy rainfall turned the dunes into mud in many places during the race, and while the road surface made driving difficult, the drivers were able to accelerate without worrying about shifting gears, which also reduced their physical burden. Also, the cooling performance of the automatic transmission fluid remained stable throughout the race, even in the harsh environment, which allowed the drivers to drive with peace of mind.”

The A09C engine in the HINO600 Series has a displacement of 8,866 cubic centimeters, and its torque is amplified by the Allison fully automatic transmission with torque converter. Furthermore, Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™ provides seamless shifting. Equipping the Allison automatic transmission is not only an advantage in that the steering wheel can be firmly operated with both hands when it is necessary to instantly respond to changes in the road surface, but also a great advantage for the teams competing in the timed competition, as the transmission power is uninterrupted. In the Trucks category of the Dakar Rally 2023, the top 10 out of 55 entries were all equipped with Allison 4000 Series™ or 3000 Series, including the winner, Team De Rooy. Allison's fully automatic transmissions have been undergoing technological development for many years to ensure durability and robustness in harsh environments while achieving excellent driving performance and are currently used around the world in a wide range of applications, including defense, snow and Antarctic observation vehicles.

23 Feb, 2023


Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion solutions for commercial and defense vehicles, the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, and a leader in electrified propulsion systems that Improve the Way the World Works. Allison products are used in a wide variety of applications, including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (school, transit and coach), motorhomes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (energy, mining and construction applications) and defense vehicles (tactical wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a presence in more than 150 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil, manufacturing facilities in the USA, Hungary and India, as well as global engineering resources, including electrification engineering centers in Indianapolis, Indiana, Auburn Hills, Michigan and London in the United Kingdom. Allison also has approximately 1,600 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.