Toyota Gazoo Racing has unveiled a radical Prius sports concept car to celebrate the significant contribution motorsport makes in developing technologies for hybrid-electric road cars.
The striking Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition concept car – based on the vehicle synonymous with Toyota’s hybrid vehicles – is the centrepiece of a tribute to Le Mans, where Toyota has competed with hybrid-electric race cars since 2012.
The tribute includes an exhibit that highlights options towards achieving a carbon-neutral society, including vehicle electrification, hydrogen energy and the use of synthetic fuels.
Toyota is aiming to extend its five-year winning streak at Le Mans, regarded as a showcase for the latest automotive technology since the first race in 1923, with two GR010 HYBRID race cars, in this weekend’s centennial edition of the famed 24-hour enduro.
According to the Japanese car maker, competing in motorsport had enabled its engineers to develop ever-better hybrid-electric system technologies for its road-going production vehicles.
Some of the noted advances include improved cooling, miniaturisation of inverters mounted directly on electric motors, and development of silicon carbide and high voltages for semiconductors.
The Prius concept car is 90mm longer, 50mm wider and sits 30mm lower than a standard car, with front and rear tracks widened by 40mm. It’s inspired by Toyota’s hybrid Le Mans race car, and is distinguished by multi-headlamps and a lightweight carbon-fibre bonnet.
It incorporates exclusive performance features designed to improve traction and aerodynamics, including side skirts, canards, large rear wing, rear diffuser and a wide-track suspension set-up housing special 18-inch wheels and 235/50 tyres.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans race runs from 12am Sunday June 11 to 12am Monday June 12, Australian Eastern Standard Time. Live coverage is available on the Stan Sport subscription service.