The Denso SARD Supra HV-R, a former Super GT racer modified to run with a hybrid powertrain, has taken the pole position for today's 2007 Tokachi 24-hour endurance race, which will be well underway by the time you read this. Toyota Team SARD competed with a hybrid in the event last year, a Lexus GS450h that finished 4th in class and 17th overall. The Supra HV-R is a different breed of cat entirely, however, and assuming it doesn't experience any mechanical problems or on-track mishaps, it looks to have a shot at the overall win. A lot can happen in a 24-hour race, however, so we'll just have to peek in during the day to see how things are progressing. With a 480-horsepower V8 augmented by in-wheel electric motors up front and a single electric motor in back, this ain't no grocery-getting Prius. This mean-looking thing's for real, and is the kind of hybrid even the most ardent speed freaks can get into.

UPDATE: After 12 hours of racing, the Supra is in first place overall. As of hour 12, the track is wet and it's raining at Tokachi.

UPDATE 2: After 20 hours of racing, the hybrid Supra remains in the lead, having completed 507 laps. The second place car has completed 492.

UPDATE 3: With 2 hours to go, the Supra HV-R has expanded its lead. it is now 17 laps up on the second- and third-place cars.

[Source: SARD]