• Jul 5, 2006
Toyota Motor has announced that it has entered a race-prepped version of its Lexus GS450h hybrid sedan in Japan's Tokachi 24-hour endurance race. The car (shown above in preliminary livery) will be raced by Sigma Automotive Racing Division (SARD), a group that races Toyotas in the Japanese Super GT series.

The GS450h racecar is spec'd at a maximum hybrid system output of about 345 hp, with peak output of the gas engine of 295 hp, and peak electric motor output of nearly 200 hp. The race-ready Lexus races in a class with a relatively hefty minimum weight of 3,417 lb, and has received the usual top-to-bottom list of race modifications, including:
  • reworked suspension
  • wheels and tires
  • rollcage
  • fuel cell
  • limited-slip differential
  • uprated brakes
  • aero modifications
The Tokachi 24-hour race is part of a race series for production-based cars, broadly similar to the U.S. SPEED World Challenge.

[Source: Toyota]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ok- I might be totally ignorant but I thought that the hybrids didn't use the electric engine at highway speeds. If so, I guess the point of running a hybrid in a race to say "we did it." Please correct me if I'm wrong.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #5

      An electric motor produces its power much lower in the powerband than a gasoline engine would. The peak number that's quoted (345 hp) is probably taking into account max hp for the engine @ whatever RPM + electric motor output @ the same RPM... or maybe its max electric output + engine output @ that RPM, or somewhere along that continuum.

      If both produced maximum horsepower and torque at the same RPM, then we'd get crazy numbers (but probably poorer performance, as it sounds like this has a rather wide powerband).
      • 8 Years Ago
      It all depends on how much energy they can capture while under heavy corners and reuse when accelerating out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a little confused. How do they arrive at the figure of 345 hp? Obviously they didn't just add the gas engine's horsepower to the electric's (gas: 295hp, electric: 200hp), so how do they calculate the horsepower on a hybrid?
      • 8 Years Ago
      200HP electric should give some crazy accelleration. If the Hybrid system can absorb the massive energy of full braking it might be an improvement on a traditional engine/brake combination.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm guessing the electric motors are more for assisting acceleration rather than economy. The driver will be going pedal to the metal as much as he can, which means full drain on the batteries and full power from the engine. True, they may be getting better acceleration from the same amount of fuel, but it also seems like they'd pay a pretty big penalty when it comes to having to lug around a few hundred pounds of batteries that their competitors don't in handling and on fuel consumption (again - this is racing, not street driving). I'm curious as to the size of the battery pack versus the buy-it-at-the-dealer GS battery.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The big question is, how does the gas mileage compare to the other racers?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Because they race in a weight class, they can probably make other componenets of the car much lighter, offsetting the added weight of the batteries. Also, the batteries will probably be able to be loaded very low in the car, and with an eye towards front/rear balance, negating much of their impact on handling prowess. Also, I don't think they would have entered it in the race unless they figured a way to make the hybrid components have a positive impact far into the race.

      Personally, I'd love to see more stuff like this, because as someone else said above (#3 Anonymous Coward), racing tech does eventually trickle down to the street.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I believe fuel cell doesn't mean a hydrogen electric thing - it means a smaller, reinforced gas tank used on race cars. For what it's worth.
      • 8 Years Ago
      We are the organiser and promoter of the second 24h endurance race in Dubai on 11-12-13 January 2007. See our website www.24hdubai.com
      Maybe your team likes to be part of this great challenge.
      I hope you will make a short phonecall or e-mail to help us.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I totally agree with #11. I'd go so far to say that with the race spec chassis and components, the total weights of most the cars will far under 3147 lbs. So its a matter of other teams adding ballast weight, and this car adding batteries.

      #2 - I don't know which versions are used most now... what you are referring to are hybrid systems where the energy for the electrical motor is extracted during braking. And because an electrical motor doesn't normally yield hp (the honda accord hybrid's electrical motor puts out 16hp and 100+ ft-lb) just supplies torque, results in most performance and mileage gains take place in the lower rev band (and/or at lower speeds).

      The Lexus LS600h is supposed to have 430hp by V8+electric motors, i'm suprised this car isn't more powerful - unless they're going straight stock, and the GS450h is 345hp stock.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The toyota 'full' hybrid system uses a planetary gear set and two electric motors to make the transmission perform like and IVT.
      Rough approximation on how it works.
      So the gasoline engine powers the generator motor (acting like a series hybrid in this instance) which powers the traction motor for vehicle motion. This allows the engine speed to be decoupled from vehicle speed, and can run as a parallel hybrid at low/medium speeds solely under electric power from the battery (not really useful in racing)
      http://www.vibratesoftware.com/html_help/html/Diagnosis/Reference/Hybrid-Electric_Vehicles.htm

      http://www.aisin-aw.co.jp/en/02products/02at/05hev/index.html
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