In addition to the chance to see bumper-to-bumper racing in a unique atmosphere, the roar of V8 engines is one of the things that compel people to attend NASCAR events, rather than watching them from the couch on TV. The front end of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway was a whole lot quieter, though, because the 2016 Toyota Mirai made its debut as a pace car there.

Outfitted with a light bar and a special livery, the Mirai became the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to ever pace a NASCAR race and led the cars to the green flag for Saturday night's Sprint Cup round. The sedan was tested prior to the event to prove it had the performance required to lead the 43-car field. "Bringing the Mirai to Richmond to pace this important race is another way for Toyota to showcase our innovation and environmental leadership," Ed Laukes, company vice president of marketing, performance, and guest experience, said.

There's some precedent for Toyota to show off its green credentials to the NASCAR audience. In 2009, a Camry Hybrid paced the Coca-Cola 600. The automaker's fuel cell tech already had a maiden motorsport outing, too. Late last year, the FCV Concept, which previewed the Mirai, was the zero car to check the roads for the Shinshiro Rally in Japan.
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TOYOTA MIRAI TAKES TO THE TRACK
23/04/15

Mirai Will Pace Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

Mirai Is First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle to Pace a NASCAR Race

RICHMOND, VA. (April 23, 2015) – Toyota today announced the 2016 Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, will pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, April 25.

Today's approval allows the Mirai to serve as the first hydrogen-fueled vehicle to pace a NASCAR race. It will lead the Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag at Richmond on Saturday night and emit only water out of its tailpipe along the way.

"Having a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pace the Toyota Owners 400 is a historic moment for both Toyota and NASCAR and we're proud it's the Toyota Mirai," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "Bringing the Mirai to Richmond to pace this important race is another way for Toyota to showcase our innovation and environmental leadership."

The Mirai is a four-door, mid-size sedan with performance to pace the 43-car NASCAR field at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) while using no gasoline and emitting nothing but water vapor. The groundbreaking fuel cell electric vehicle is powered by hydrogen, refuels in about five minutes and travels up to 300 miles on a full tank. It will arrive first to buyers in California later this year.

The Mirai was tested and approved by NASCAR to pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race after a test session at RIR earlier today. In the test session, the Mirai met NASCAR's performance requirements to pace the 400-mile NSCS race.

There is Toyota precedent bringing hybrid and alternative fuel technology to track. The Toyota Camry Hybrid earned praise as the first hybrid vehicle to pace a full NASCAR race when the hybrid vehicle was used for the Coca Cola 600 in May 2009.

From fuel-efficient vehicles to developing groundbreaking technologies, Toyota is proud to be at the forefront of environmental sustainability – and the Mirai pace car showcases this commitment. Toyota has more than 2 million hybrid vehicles on U.S. roads – more than any other manufacturer – and continues to develop new breakthroughs in plug-in, electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

Tickets for the Toyota Owners 400 race weekend at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, including the Toyota Care 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, can be purchased online at RIR.com or by calling 866-455-RACE.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. (TMS), based in Torrance, CA, is the U.S. sales, marketing, distribution and customer service arm for Toyota, Scion and Lexus.


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