The efficiency of hybrid vehicle technology is no longer limited to passenger vehicles. In the past few years there has been much more interest in alternatively fueled race cars, both hybrid and electric. With Toyota being the pioneer of hybrid vehicle technology, they too have joined the hybrid racing circuit. While you may have visions of a track full of souped-up Priuses decked out in racing stripes, this is certainly nothing near the contribution to hybrid racing that Toyota has developed.
A 3.4-liter 530 horsepower V8 engine paired with a “super-capacitor” system powers Toyota’s TS030 hybrid racecar. This system adds an additional 300 horsepower from an engine that is charged through Toyota’s regenerative braking system. This particular racecar competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and won five races in 2012 taking the wins at Sao Paulo, Fuji and Shanghai. As with all other Toyota hybrid vehicles, including racecars, they are continually being improved to make them more efficient and reliable. For 2013, Toyota has had to modify both the powertrain and chassis to comply with the 33-pound weight loss in the TS030 class. The Toyota TS030 hybrid’s biggest competition last year was the diesel hybrid racecars built by Audi. With the Audi finishing in the top spot last season, Toyota has its sights set on taking over that top spot.
The increase in hybrid technology in racing, especially endurance racing, is due to the same reason there are hybrid passenger cars – to use less fuel. Fuel consumption has always been an issue in endurance racing in which finishing the race can be harder than being the fastest. Other benefits to hybrid racecars are better acceleration out of corners due to the low torque and continuous power output by the electric motor. While a gasoline-powered engine requires more fuel to produce more power, the electric motor produces a steady amount of power not matter what speed the vehicle is traveling. With all the innovations Toyota has already had in hybrid technology, their presence in racing is sure to provide some stiff competition.
While you will never be able to buy an 830 horsepower Toyota TS030 racecar at your local dealership, you still can take advantage of the innovation in hybrid technology that Toyota offers. Whether you want the hybrid that started it all, the Prius, or need more room for the family that a Camry or Avalon can provide, or even an SUV like the Highlander, Toyota has a hybrid for you. Dick Poe Toyota has a great selection of hybrids as well as fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles from which to choose. If you are looking for a hybrid, let Dick Poe Toyota be your first stop for your first, or next hybrid!