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Toyota was all ready to create a little positive marketing for itself by entering its new 2010 4Runner in the grueling Baja 1000 race. The only problem is, Hummer also signed up and decided to spoil all the fun.
Both the 4Runner, piloted by a host of drivers, including Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, a 22-time Baja winner and member of the Off-Road Motorsorts Hall of Fame; and the Hummer H3 driven by 20-time winner Rod Hall (and others), were entered in the Stock Mini class, meaning that they received only minor modifications.
The Hummer proved victorious, but it was close with the H3 only overtaking the 4Runner in the last 30 miles of the 673-mile race. The win now gives Rod Hall a total of 21 class victories, and solidifies Hall’s claim to being the only driver to have competed in all 42 Baja 1000 races.
“These production trucks are the right size. They’re fun, take a lot of abuse and just keep running and running,” said Rod Hall. “You’d be surprised at how much abuse the H3 can take.”
For the record, there were only three vehicles entered in the Stock Mini class, however, just finishing the race is its own little victory, as this year only 185 of 328 total vehicles (just 56.4 percent) of the vehicles entered made it to he checkered flag.
The Hummer H3 Alpha driven by Chad Hall of Rod Hall Racing also managed a victory in the Stock Full Class.
“Off-road motorsports is an integral part of Hummer’s vehicle development process and a cornerstone of the brand’s DNA,” said Hummer CEO James Taylor. “We’re extremely proud of the team’s resilience to earn these stock class victories and congratulate the Rod Hall Racing program on another successful Baja 1000. Race after race, they continue to prove the rugged nature of Hummer vehicles.”
The overall Baja 1000 winners were Andy and Scott McMillin, who covered all 673 miles in just 14-hours, 19-minutes and 50-seconds in their Trophy Truck Class Chevy Silverado.
[Source: SCORE and Hummer]
Earlier today we reported that GM had reached a tentative deal to sell off the Hummer brand to an unnamed party. That company has now been identified as Chinese heavy machinery maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. – or just Tengzhong for short.
Tengzhong will take control of the Hummer brand including the senior operational team and the company’s dealership network. It also plans to continue a relationship with General Motors in the immediate future while it looks to expand Hummer with new products.
“The Hummer brand is synonymous with adventure, freedom and exhilaration, and we plan to continue that heritage by investing in the business, allowing Hummer to innovate and grow in exciting new ways under the leadership and continuity of its current management team,” said Yang Yi, CEO of Tengzhong. “We will be investing in the Hummer brand and its research and development capabilities, which will allow Hummer to better meet demand for new products such as more fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S.”
In an interview with Automotive News, Hummer CEO James Taylor said that long term the company will look to set up its own engineering and marketing offices in the United States.
Taylor also said that Tengzhong’s plans include expanding the Hummer product lineup and using alternative powertrains to help it meet with increasingly stringent environmental standards.
The Tengzhong company is the largest privately owned engineering company in China, specializing in heavy machinery for large scale construction projects, such as roads and bridges. It does not, however, have any experience in building passenger vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News]
Official release after the jump: