Akio Toyoda is an incredibly cool automotive executive. Do not believe me ? Well, maybe his unique Toyota racing career will change your mind, or the fact that he’s committed to making Toyota more exciting. A decision that brought many performance models back to Toyota showrooms. His last act of being a cool guy will take place at Suzuka where he will be driving a hydrogen powered Toyota Corolla in an endurance race.
Toyota works for a carbon neutral society where cars produce no emissions. Part of this strategy is embracing the world of hydrogen fuel which has to overcome a few hurdles before it can be accepted by mainstream consumers. When it comes to pushing new automotive technology, there is no better place than the world of motorsport.
So what does it take to build a hydrogen-powered Toyota Corolla racing car? Well, it was surprisingly simple. Besides the normal safety requirements for building a racing car, the mechanical parts are surprisingly normal. The Toyota Corolla uses a slightly modified version of the GR Yaris’ 1.6-liter inline 3-cylinder engine. Toyota had to adjust simple things like the fuel system and the ignition system. Otherwise, the Toyota Corolla has four rear pressurized hydrogen tanks raised from the mainstream hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai sedan.
The surprising part is how normal this hydrogen engine looks. You’d be hard pressed to find anything different about this from the rest of the grid that uses traditional fossil fuels. Seeing this race car in action makes the hydrogen seem all the more usable in everyday life, especially if the resulting cars are just as fast and engaging.
The Toyota Corolla Hydrogen racing car has participated in a few races. After each race, improvements are made to the powertrain and simple things like pit refueling speed. This current version is the best hydrogen racing car in the world and the president of Toyota is ready to drive it at a race pace which is more than exciting for the future of performance cars.