Toyota Considering Hybrid Le Mans Racer

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
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toyota considering hybrid le mans racer

Audi has dominated the Le Mans series with the diesel-powered R10; Peugeot is also fielding a diesel race car. Now The Daily Yomiyuri reports that Toyota's considering jumping into the alternate powertrain fray with a hybrid-powered Le Mans car. Although Toyota last ran the Le Mans in 1999, they recently won the Tokachi 24-hour race last year in a Supra retrofitted with a hybrid drivetrain. The LeMans cars will have a "special capacitor" (no, they didn't use the word "flux") to "facilitate an extremely fast power supply and charging function." Apparently, ToMoCo sees a hybrid-powered endurance racer as a way to generate interest in the gas – electric powertrain in Europe, which already has plenty of cars equipped high mileage gas and diesel powerplants. Considering Toyota's "success" in F1, they better hope they don't need a checkered flag to make the point.

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  • Thalter Thalter on Jan 21, 2008

    Chrysler had an interesting Le Mans hybrid concept back in the 90's. Their Patriot racer used flywheels, not batteries, to store energy. I believe it also ran on natural gas. Pity it never actually raced.

  • SaturnV SaturnV on Jan 21, 2008

    That's the sort of thing (along with the R10, which I thought was very cool indeed) that actually gets my interest in automobile racing up. In the motorcycle world, racing attracts some interest partly because the technologies on display there are likely to make it to the street bikes in a few years - demonstrator models, if you like. Auto racing hasn't really had that connection (at least in the United States) for a while. With the advent of the turbo-diesels from Audi (and soon Peugeot), and now this effort from Toyota, maybe that'll change... -S5

  • Orian Orian on Jan 21, 2008

    Incidentally the FIA is looking into regenerative technologies for Formula 1 in the future to make it more relevant. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen, but it's certainly interesting to see it used in a racing application.

  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Jan 21, 2008

    1999 was a pity. Better luck this time!