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Toyota shows off hybrid race winner

With energy recovery systems due to be introduced into Formula 1 in 2009, it’s fitting that the first and only hybrid car to win an officially sanctioned motor race will make its world motor-show debut at this year’s Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

The Toyota Supra HV-R hybrid won last year’s Tokachi 24-hour enduro in Japan, starting from pole position.

Data gained by engineers during the race is being used to help make future hybrid systems lighter and more efficient.

Toyota’s Peter Evans explained: “With the introduction of hybrids and energy recovery into motorsport, the direct benefit that motorsport has on the development of passenger-car technology has been reestablished.

The Hybrid Supra HV-R is powered by a 350kW 4.5-litre petrol V8 working in tandem with a 150kW electric motor mounted on the rear axle as well as small electric motors in the front wheels. In race trim it weighs just 1080kg.

It has a sophisticated energy regeneration system to recover the huge amount of energy available under heavy braking from high speeds.

Instead of being fitted with rechargeable batteries usually found in hybrids, the Hybrid Supra HV-R uses a quick-charging capacitor system designed to cope with the high energy flow of the massive acceleration and braking during a long race.