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Toyota’s “unbreakable” HiLux has joined forces with the tough TONKA brand to provide a rugged and powerful pace car for the 2016-17 speedway season.

A special-purpose Toyota HiLux SR5 double cab wrapped in distinctive TONKA livery is making its debut tomorrow (October 1) at a popular dirt track racing venue in Sydney’s west.

The tie-up is significant as both companies will celebrate milestones in 2017 – 80 years since the foundation of Toyota Motor Corporation and the 70th anniversary of TONKA.

Taking its position in front of the grid at the Valvoline Raceway in Granville, the top-of-the-line HiLux turbo-diesel 4×4 pace car is even tougher than normal with the addition of a range of Toyota Genuine accessories.

The rugged good looks of the five-seat HiLux SR5, including its standard sports bar, are enhanced by mean-looking black 18-inch alloy wheels, a premium steel bull bar, convenient side steps and a protective tub liner.

Toyota Australia’s Executive Director Sales and Marketing Tony Cramb said the tie-up between HiLux and TONKA brings together two brands that are bywords for “tough”.

“Toyota is Australia’s leading automotive brand, and HiLux has been the best-selling workhorse for more than 18 years – in fact, HiLux is Australia’s best-selling vehicle bar none in 2016,” Mr Cramb said.

“This is a natural fit for our brand – TONKA with its enviable reputation for rugged trucks and HiLux, which has been a feature of Australia’s worksites, rural roads and the outback for the past 45 years,” he said.

TONKA spokesman George Khoury said the company’s renowned toys shared a focus with Toyota HiLux on quality, durability and reliability.

“The TONKA brand represents family fun, adventure, innovation and leadership – all of which are traits we have in common with Toyota and HiLux,” said Mr Khoury, who is Asia-Pacific Director of Sales and Marketing for TONKA’s manufacturer, Funrise.

Valvoline Raceway managing director Steven Green said the rugged TONKA-liveried Toyota HiLux was an ideal pace car because sprint car drivers are the toughest on the planet.

“The three companies are linked by a passion for families and their kids – Valvoline Raceway with our sprint car events, TONKA with its tradition of quality toys and the Toyota HiLux SR5 with its go-anywhere ability and upscale interior,” Mr Green said.