Toyota has built an experimental Corolla racing car with a GR Yaris powertrain. If that doesn’t sound particularly experimental to you, there’s also the added detail that it’s hydrogen being pumped into those cylinders, not petrol.
Yes, this is an internally combusted hydrogen race car with a mission to prove there’s a clean future for suck, squeeze, bang, blow in motorsport. Toyota is already one of the biggest proponents of hydrogen power at the moment, with the Fuel Cell-powered Mirai now in its sexier second generation but actually burning it is a whole other ball game.
The car is due to take part in the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours next month as a test of the technology and Toyota is very much still in observation mode. Problems to overcome include heat management and thirst, both as a result of how quickly hydrogen burns. Traditionally, you’d need a lot more of it on board to go a distance on par with petrol.
Of course, it’s Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda who is behind this and who harbours these fears of the silent racetracks of the future. Rumour has it the boss pushed through the racing program for the car, after the excitement of driving it late last year. Hydrogen viability is a tough climb, especially given the EV and e-fuel alternatives. If any will do it, it’s Toyota.
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