click above image to view high-res pics of the hybrid on race day
Toyota Team SARD's specially-prepared Supra HV-R hybrid GT racer has won the Tokachi 24-hour endurance race in Japan. The converted Super GT-spec racing car did so convincingly, too. As the only GT-class car in the field, the Denso SARD Supra HV-R maintained a steady lead of several laps throughout the course of the race, and in the later hours, it essentially dialed things up a notch and ran away from the rest of the field. After starting from the pole position, the Supra completed 616 laps in the ensuing 24 hours -- 19 more than the second-place finisher. The victory marks the first of its type for a hybrid-powered vehicle. The Supra HV-R began life as a retired 480-horsepower Super GT racing car, which then had regenerative braking technology and a trio of hybrid motors added to it for this event. What bearing, if any, the success of the Supra HV-R has on Toyota's plans for production sports hybrid vehicles is unknown. With reports that the FT-HS concept is on its way to production, however, we'll likely be seeing how well a production-spec hybrid sports car fares soon enough.