As the 24 Hours of LeMons has aged, some common wisdom has occasionally emerged from the substantial(ly crazy) community. We’ll share as many nuggets of wisdom as we can with new and prospective teams here and among the many lessons is this one: Pickup trucks make pretty good endurance racers. Sure, they’re a bit heavy, usually, but they’re also built to take plenty of abuse, allowing you to (more or less) slap good brake pads on and go race. However, some people, like the Texans of Apex Vinyl, up the ante.
At their first race in 2009 at MSR Houston, the Apex Vinyl crew brought a Toyota truck with a Chaparral-inspired industrial “sucker” fan in the bed and a skateboard vert-ramp spoiler. They ultimately elected not to run with the ramp installed and I don’t know if the sucker fan ran during the race, but it was a good start and the truck finished a respectable 32nd place.
The team returned at the second MSR race that year with the ante upped considerably. Gone were the sucker fan and vert-ramp, replaced instead with an Optimus Prime-inspired Toyota six-wheeler. Sure, the truck never officially logged a lap at that second 2009 MSR race, but they were back with it again and again.
The six-wheel Hilux actually turned out to be a pretty reliable beast (if a slow one. It finished in the top 30 at three consecutive races in 2010 and 2011, which would have been good for Class C wins at two of those races had it not been for the infuriatingly reliable (and aptly named) Exhibition of Slow Toyota Tercel EZ that won Class C at three consecutive races.
We’ve seen faster trucks and we’ve even seen other six-wheel trucks, but the Apex Vinyl Toyota might be the best of the lot. And what other LeMons vehicle allows Race Control to call the driver in for three or six wheels off?
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