Hydrogen, carbon-neutral and petrol racers are lined up for popular race championship in Japan
Toyota has entered cars powered by three different fuels into one of Japan’s most popular championship racing competitions, which started its new season yesterday.
The world’s largest car maker lined up hydrogen, carbon-neutral and petrol racers for the opening race of the 2022 Super Taikyu Series.
Representing hydrogen power was the Toyota Corolla H2 Concept, which first made its racing debut in 2021. It competed in four stages of the Super Taikyu series last year, finishing fifth in the STQ class.
It’s driven by the same turbocharged in-line three-cylinder engine from the Toyota GR Yaris but featuring several alterations to accommodate its new fuel.
Since its last race outing, Toyota has updated its refuelling technology. The car can now be fuelled from both sides, with the time to top up the tank reduced from two minutes to one-and-a-half minutes.
Engine performance has also been improved to close the gap with Toyota’s petrol engines, with power increased by 24% and torque by 33%.
Racing the hydrogen-combustion car will help to discover methods to improve driving range, Toyota says.
Meanwhile, the Toyota GR86 CNF concept, driven by carbon-neutral fuel, finished in second place in the five-hour season-opening race. This car also uses the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine from the GR Yaris.
Despite producing emissions, it also makes use of CO2 in the atmosphere for overall net-zero emissions. Toyota says the technology can be used with existing fuel infrastructure and powertrain technology.
Toyota says the application of carbon-neutral fuels in motorsport will be used as a “means of training, discovering issues, making improvements and exploring the possibilities for future practical applications of the fuel”.
It also said the expertise gained from racing will also be used to develop similar technology for the road-going GR86.
A petrol GR86 will be introduced from the second round of the 2022 race series, entering the Fuji Super Tec 24-hour race.
Other firms are also testing alternative fuels in motorsport. Mazda entered its own bio concept car, while Subaru raced with a carbon-neutral BRZ (the sister car to the GR86).
“Toyota and these companies will share information in areas of co-operation while competing against each other on the track, helping to increase the speed of technological research and progress towards a carbon-neutral society,” said Toyota.