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