Audi are proud of their diesel supercar taking out Le Mans two years in a row and Toyota, being Toyota, has been sitting in the corner green with envy, until now. Last week Toyota become the first manufacturer in the world to win a motor race with a hybrid-powered car.
Based on a Super GT Toyota Supra, the Hybrid powered vehicle took out Japan's Tokachi 24-Hour endurance race. The hybrid Supra was powered by a four-wheel energy regeneration and drive system, similar to the technology found in Toyota's everyday Hybrid, the Prius.
With Formula 1's governing body looking towards Hybrid technologies for the 2011 season, Toyota appear to one step ahead of the rest, once again. The Toyota Supra's system included in-wheel motors in the front wheels and a 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor.
"The hybrid Supra's victory is a very significant moment in Toyota's history and motorsport history in general," said Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner.
The Supra HV-R's energy regeneration system with its three motors/generators allowed the car to more efficiently recover a greater amount of energy during rapid deceleration and braking from high speeds.
Although production level Hybrid cars are fitted with rechargeable batteries, the Toyota Supra car was fitted with a quick-charging capacitor system to cope with the repeated acceleration and deceleration the car produced during the race.
Last year Toyota entered a Lexus GS 450h in the same race. The car finished a respectable 17th.