Next-generation Super GT Prius unveiled

The benefits of hybrid technology run deeper than low-emission, fuel-efficient road cars. Since the launch of the TS030 Hybrid endurance racer and GT300 specification Prius in 2012, plus the updated TS040 Hybrid in 2014, Toyota has proved the effectiveness of Hybrid Synergy Drive in top-level motorsport.

Last weekend at the Tokyo Auto Salon the latest chapter in hybrid racing technology was unveiled on the Toyota Racing Development booth – the brand new GT300 specification fourth-generation Toyota Prius.

Built in cooperation with APR Racing to compete in Japan’s exciting Super GT series, the dramatic new model will make its race debut at the season opener on 9-10 April at Okayama International Circuit.

GT300 Prius 03

APR Racing team director Hiroto Kineso introduced the car with pride, aware that this new Japan-made product would be competing head-to-head with established supercars from predominantly European brands. He also took care to point out the direct link with TRD’s new anniversary edition Prius (below), built in commemoration of 40 years since the establishment of Toyota Racing Development.

GT300 Prius 05

Apparently, the aerodynamic enhancements fitted to the TRD road car were designed from the outset with Super GT regulations in mind and were honed using computational fluid dynamics technology.  The lower front spoiler is therefore virtually identical to the race car’s, while other elements bear aesthetic similarities, albeit in exaggerated forms.

RV8K race engine
Equipped with a mid-mounted 3.4-litre ‘RV8K’ V8 race engine (above) and an output capped in line with GT300 regulations, the new Super GT Prius is arguably the fastest of its kind in the world. But by adopting the new Prius’s improved Hybrid Synergy Drive system – relocated to the passenger footwell for better weight distribution – this racing Prius clearly hasn’t forgotten its roots as Toyota’s environmental icon.

GT300 Prius 02

APR Racing will field two Prius models in the 2016 Super GT season. The #30 car will be piloted by Hiroaki Nagai and Kota Sasaki, while driving duties in the #31 car will be shared by Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama.

GT300 Prius 04

Commenting on his time racing the outgoing GT300 Prius, Koki Saga said: “The hybrid system reached a certain maturity with the previous model and now we have the new model, which has [become the] strongest machine APR have ever had. We won twice last year… so our goal this year is to win three times and get the championship.”

Toyota Prius GT300

Learn more: History of the Toyota Prius
Learn more: What is Toyota’s latest hybrid vehicle?
Learn more: Important diary dates for 2016

 

Comments (2)

  1. given the bulk of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, it’s unlikely to fit in the passenger’s footwell. do you mean an electronic controller? Also, please explain exactly how this car has hybrid propulsion, usually defined as a mix of gas and electric power.

    1. Dear Don,
      Thank you for your comment. We do not know precisely what elements of the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) are located in the passenger foot well of the new Prius GT300, though we have a feeling it might be the PCU (power control unit).
      A hybrid engine is any engine that has two or more power sources. In the instance of this race car and all other HSD engines, ‘hybrid’ means a combination of petrol-driven combustion engine and battery-powered electric motor.
      For more information on how HSD works, please read this post: http://blog.toyota.co.uk/how-does-toyota-hybrid-synergy-drive-work. Hope this helps and if you have any other questions please let us know.

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