Check out this Toyota Hiace rally van – Top Gear Philippines

Can you turn anything into a race car? Well, with enough imagination, resources, and most importantly, budget, the most humdrum of cars can get a bit of motorsports credibility. It’s why you see economy hatchbacks take on autocrosses and sedans take on the track from time to time. But what about a racing van?

Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
Well, the concept of a racing van isn’t entirely new. Ford has been making ‘Supervans’ for over half a century, and Peugeot even entered an MPV in an endurance race once. But over in Japan, there’s one racing team that transformed the Hiace into a rally car. Or should we say rally van?

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Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
That team is Cast Racing, and it recently fielded a pair of specialized Hiace vans to compete in the ARK Rally Kamuy 2023. And before you think these vans are just stripped out Hiaces, there’s a fair bit of work that went into these vans.

Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
For starters, it has a full rollcage and an upgraded brake kit to bring the heavy van to a halt. It also has a pair of Bride seats to keep the weight down and give the driver and co-driver more side support. And keeping them in place are Sparco harnesses.

Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
The Hiaces also get coilover suspension for better grip and handling and prevent it from, um, resting on its side. That said, there’s no mention of power upgrades, but it’s worth noting that the Cast Racing have a manual transmission.

Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
Interestingly, Cast Racing has been running Hiace vans for a few years now. The team debuted its vans in amateur rally competitions in 2021. In this year’s ARK Rally Kamuy 2023, however, one of its Hiaces took a class win in the hands of Kitami Takahiro and Uekusa Hiromaa. And before you think the only reason their won their class is because they’re the only one there, Takahiro and Hiromaa fended off a GT86 for the class win. This van is definitely no slouch.

Toyota Hiace rally van by CAST Racing
Want to see the vans in action? Check out the video below. These vans get seriously sideways in some corners.

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