• Jan 20, 2008
Click for gallery of the Tokachi-winning Denso SARD Supra HV-R

According to the Yomiyuri Shimbun newspaper, Toyota is considering a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 with a hybrid racing car. This seems like a natural progression for the automaker, which has entered hybrids in the last two Tokachi 24-hour enduros in Japan, winning it last year with a retired Supra Super GT car that was retrofitted with a hybrid system. The Denso SARD Supra HV-R had a single electric motor for the rear wheels and in-wheel motors up front. Toyota says that its future results in F1 have a bearing on whether it will follow through with a Le Mans bid, but let's be serious for a moment. Toyota's F1 experiment has been an exercise in futility, and with the recently-announced 10 5-year freeze on F1 engine development, the writing is on the wall for Toyota to pursue other motorsports avenues, especially if it wants to use racing as a laboratory for street technology. Sports car racing is a much better bet in this regard, as has been shown by automakers like Audi, who races and wins under diesel power, and Chevrolet, who has used the Corvette Racing effort to similar effect. A Toyota win at Le Mans under hybrid power would also elevate that particular green technology's profile in Europe, where it still plays second fiddle to diesel. Toyota's last factory-backed Le Mans effort occurred in 1999, when one of the automaker's GT-ONE racers finished second overall.

[Source: Yomiyuri Shimbun via AutoblogGreen]




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  • 27 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........
      • 7 Years Ago
      On a side note:

      Did anyone else notice that Toyota did not hit its 200,000 sales goal for the Tundra? They were close, but they did not hit it. Oops!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Didn't Panoz run an electric/fuel hybrid type car about 10-15 years ago at LeMans? I seem to recall something like that. Alright, must use google.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they bother because as rallies, endurance racing is real racing, not an family disney-type equality story giving more importance to the sponsors(nascar), nor an inflated ego-and-glamour overrated (F1) form and motorsport, where engineering skills matter more than sponsorship. also they are a good laborary for testing new technologies for future production cars, not dinosaurs and useless stuff that nascar and f1 use
      • 7 Years Ago
      I still am unsure as to how a hybrid will function in a race. The batteries charge by braking, however, braking distances are very short in a car of that level. So not much time to charge. Plus they will have a huge weight disadvantage due to the motors and batteries being on board. I suppose they could setup a partial charge system that is always charging as the car is moving. It would cause some drag on the engine obviously, but I don't see any other way of making it work.
        • 7 Years Ago
        current hybrid tech will not work as a race car, that is why they need to race it
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Supra HR-V DOES use capacitors and weights about 1080Kgs. That is how hybrid technology works in a race car, granted that this car without the hybrid tech would probably be fast enough to win anyway.


        p.s. This car won the race engine of the year award for 2007.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I was wondering the same thing about how to make the most of hybrid technology in a race vehicle. My thought is that they could learn a lot about improving the energy capture during braking. I'm sure a stock hybrid is unable to capture a good portion of the energy lost during braking, but perhaps use of ultracapacitors or other means to improve the rate at which energy can be recovered could be a useful way of using racing to test product improvements.

        It also wouldn't surprise me if they were using a Lithium Ion battery in the race car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I can't see how a hybrid will help much either, because of this problem. Capacitors are the only thing that can take the energy fast enough to recover anything from the braking and they can't store enough energy to make a difference.

        As to reliability, I expect they're bringing their hybrid car they already ran in SuperGT (in GT300). It's done one 24h race already, so reliability shouldn't be a bigger concern for them than it is for any other car on the grid.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wasn't the F1 Engine Freeze thing reduced to 5 years, instead of 10?
      • 7 Years Ago
      THis car has huge shoes to fill, if it comes to existence, the GT1 was damn close to taking Le Mans 10 years ago. Im not a toyota fan but I LOVE THE GT1!
      • 7 Years Ago
      & that my friends is the epitome of a fair weathered fan! LOL, Just messin' with ya.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great, they can waste money on this form of racing and lose just as they are with F1 and Nascar. Why bother?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree that racing improves the breed. I think they should start a Hydrogen Race series that PMD recommends on his website. I think that would be a better way to improve the breed than racing hybrids which are a stop on the way to hydrogen taking over from gasoline. Improve hydrogen with an open class ready to race and let the best car win. His website is:

        http://www.autoextremist.com

        • 7 Years Ago
        Very cool and thanks for the link! I love to see that this is already up and running. I hope it comes to North America as I would be a huge fan and more people should know about this...

        Autoblog... please start spreading the word on this!!


        http://www.formulazero.nl/pagina/home

        • 7 Years Ago
        http://www.formulazero.nl/

        zero emissions fuel cell/supercapacitor racing. right now they are just running glorified karts but they have long term plans to gradually scale up and should be similar to F1 cars in 10 or 15 years. really exciting stuff.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It say's 5 year freeze in the copy.
      Reading is fundamental.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota should pursue the Le Man's bid before 2010 in my opinion, mainly because they are already losing sight on true sporting car's as it's line-up is currently void of anything truly sporting. I think also they should take the Scion Tc in the Street Tuner class in ALMS, start showing to start showing they know how to build a sporting car before they truly become a boring car maker, I.E Ford, Chevy of old.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Big2.5 maybe you shouldn'y have messaged on here all you did was make a very one think you are a fool, Toyota was one of the leading sport's car manufacturer's at one point in time making car's such as the MR-2, the Celica, Supra, AE86,2000 Gt just to name a few. I am a loyal Toyota fan yes but only because of their awesome heritage.They may have lost their way right now but things will change. As for competeing in formula one i didn't read exactly what you guys where saying but I never considered it to be the highest for of racing for a manufacture for the simple fact the car's have very little to do with production car's. And for the record I watched every F1 race I possibly can.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I see that you do know your motorsports history after all...


        Tool
        • 7 Years Ago
        That is a truly unique statemement.

        Toyota is historically nothing but a housewife mover, that doesn't show anything in design or mechanics that will appeal to anyone interested in driving or style.

        Besides Supra they never had anything, and every automaker has its Supra to match Toyota.

        Toyota doesn't do well in sport - having the biggest budget in F1 they never succeeded.

        And how participation in racing helps customer vehicles? Ford has been racing in NASCAR forever, but besides GT recently what sporty cars have they made?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Big 2.5 said:
        "Besides Supra they never had anything, and every automaker has its Supra to match Toyota."
        I'm no Toyota fan boy but have experienced the Toyota MR2 and AE86. Definitely not a match for the Supras, Skylines and NSXs but they were definitely awesome handling cars, much better than your just-goes-in-a-straight-line Dodge and Chrysler.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thanks much for not making me have to school that twit guys.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why not? We've seen diesel kick ass... bring on the hybrids! Heck, they might learn a thing or two in endurance racing that'll make the hybrid technology better performing, more efficient and more reliable for street use. I'll cheer loudly if they do well... and laugh just as loudly (or even louder?) if they get their asses kicked. It's only entertainment.
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