Toronto, Ontario – A Canadian team has announced its intention to become the first Canadians to complete the Dakar Rally on four wheels, with the co-driver the first North American woman to compete in the motor race.

Team Chinook, with driver Conor Malone and navigator Glenna Chestnutt, will drive a pickup truck formed of a chrome-moly space frame chassis and mid-mounted Corvette engine in the race, which starts on January 2, 2010. The race last 15 days and covers about 10,000 kilometres in South America, having been moved from its original Paris to Dakar route for security reasons. Some 80 per cent of participants are amateurs, including the Team Chinook members. Less than half the field usually finishes the race.

Team Chinook is raising money and awareness for two charities, the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada, and Toronto East General Hospital Minimally Invasive Surgery, through golf tournaments, wine tours and appearances at events. In addition to the race costs, they hope to raise another $250,000 to be split between the two charities.

Connect with Autos.ca