Events/CompetitionsPress Release

General Tire announces sponsorship of Team USA’s Dakar Raptor at the legendary Dakar Rally

  • 2011 Dakar stretches across more than 5,500 miles of grueling terrain from Argentina to Chile
  • Renowned driver Darren Skilton, Hall of Fame automotive journalist Sue Mead and 4WD expert Tom Collins team up for the 2011 Dakar in their Team USA Ford F-150 Raptor featuring General Tires

Fort Mill, SC – (Dec. 24, 2010) – General Tire announced it will sponsor Team USA’s Darren Skilton, Sue Mead and Tom Collins at the 2011 Dakar Rally, which stretches across more than 5,500 miles of grueling terrain from Argentina to Chile Jan. 1st through 16th.  Darren Skilton will be unleashing the fury alongside co-drivers Mead, and Collins as they represent the USA in their Ford F-150 Raptor – fitted with General Grabber competition tires.

Celebrated as the toughest and most widely watched motorsports event in the world, the 2011 Dakar Rally will host more than 350 teams from around the globe.

“This is an exciting sponsorship for General Tire,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing, General Tire.  “We’ve made a major come-back in motorsports in the past few years, and sponsoring Team USA at the Dakar Rally is just another step in the plan.  With the reported 4.1 million spectators and 2.2 billion television viewers the event had last year, this is the ultimate off-road sponsorship opportunity for us.”

Faced with the world’s most difficult course, the team chose the best tires and the best truck to conquer it.  The team selected General Grabber competition tires to get them to the finish line because not only are they known for their durability, speed and precision handling, but they are champions of off-road racing – put to the test time and time again on the demanding terrain of the Baja 1000 and the Best in the Desert series.  With the combined skill and experience of Skilton, Mead and Collins, coupled with the strength of the Ford F-150 Raptor and General Grabber competition tires, Team USA will be a formidable competitor at the 2011 Dakar Rally.

The legendary Dakar is what dreams are made of; for Skilton, a Dakar win is the ultimate goal. Skilton is an accomplished and well respected off-road racer who is now looking to his journey at Dakar to round out his distinguished career by getting the Ford F-150 Raptor to the finish line with a win.

For Sue Mead, it’s a dream come true.  Mead’s automotive journalism career has spanned an impressive 22 years in which she has raced and test-driven four-wheel vehicles across the globe.  In 2008, she was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.  With three published books, years of experience as an automotive editor for CNN and countless articles published in automotive magazines and daily newspapers – Mead has accomplished a lot, but not everything.  On Jan. 1st, Mead will realize her life-long dream of competing in the Dakar Rally.

The third driver, Tom Collins, has also had a remarkable career in off-road racing.  Over the past four decades, Collins has participated in numerous extreme adventures and “world firsts,” including the first motorized traverse of Madagascar; the first motorized crossing of Borneo; the first motorized traverse of Siberia’s Elictare River Valley; and the first 4X4 crossing of Colorado along the Continental Divide.

Follow them every step of the way as they prepare for the rally, make their epic journey across Argentina and Chile, as Mead and Collins celebrate their 60th birthdays behind the wheel, and as the team crosses the finish line, at

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