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We were first to bring you pictures of the incredible Prius race car from the Tokyo Auto Salon and now we’ve tracked down info on the too-cool-to-be-green racer. Set to complete in the Super GT series in Japan, the vehicle was built by the APR racing team – a long time competitor in the series, having campaigned the Toyota Corolla Axio over the past few seasons.
Regulations for the Super GT series are loose, often with cars utilizing entirely different engines than their production street car counterparts. That is only partially the case with this Prius. According to Katsuhiko Koganei, Senior Executive Coordinator of Corporate Communications at Toyota, it retains the Prius electric components, though the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder has been swapped out for something significantly larger. In its place is a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is capable of making 300-hp even in modest tune for street trim. It has then been mated to the 60 kW (80 hp) electric motor in the Prius.
Regulations for the series dictate that cars competing in the GT300 class should make roughly 300 hp. Based on the data provided, the Prius would seem to exceed this by quite a bit, although that may be due to the added weight of the electrical components.
As for the transmission, the APR team is currently testing several options, but you can bet the factory CVT isn’t one of them.
While a regenerative system, the Prius GT300 race car doesn’t use a KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) setup and so there is no on-demand boost of electric power. Rather, it simply uses the electric motor to add thrust in place of a larger displacement engine. Of note, however, the car is capable of running on pure electric power in the pits.
Set to be piloted by Morio Nitta and Koki Saga, the APR Prius race car is currently the only hybrid set to compete in this year’s Super GT series.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius GT300 Race Car
The automotive aftermarket and motorsports have a lot in common, so it’s no surprise to see both celebrated together at venues like the Tokyo Auto Salon. On hand to cover the latest tuning trends from Japan, AutoGuide decided a closer look at the numerous race cars on display, from Formula cars to custom machines and plenty of hardware from the world famous Super GT series.
See below for extensive galleries on some of the most jaw-droppingly amazing race cars:
Racing a Prius might sound like the start of a joke, until you see this. Unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan, this Toyota Prius is fully prepped and sporting its race livery. Significantly wider and lower than a factor model, this Prius is designed to compete in Japan’s Super GT racing series starting this year.
Regulations in the series are loose, so there’s little left of the original Prius here, although the original’s sleek aerodynamic shape is still obvious. Also of note is that the car appears to retain a hybrid drivetrain with the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive logo on the back. Another hint is the massive sponsorship by Panasonic, which supplies the batteries for the road car.
Exactly how this hybrid racer will do remains to be seen and we’ll have to wait for the first round of the Super GT series in March to find out.