Toyota made history last weekend by winning the Tokashi 24-Hour Race with its Supra HV-R hybrid race car. It is the first time ever that a Hybrid race car has won a competition.
The Supra's success follows an entry last year when Toyota was the first car manufacturer to enter a hybrid vehicle - the Lexus GS450h - into the Tokashi 24-Hour race which finished 17th overall. By entering hybrid systems into racing events, Toyota engineers hope to discover ways to make hybrid systems, most famously fitted to the Toyota Prius production car, more efficient and lighter. In only the second year of competition Toyota used - with success - the data gained from last year's race in order to develop a new, special racing unit to the limits of hybrid performance.
The race car was based on the iconic Supra GT used in Super GT races in Japan. It was modified and equipped with a special racing hybrid system. In order to improve the system's energy regeneration and operating efficiency during the race, the following two distinctive technologies have been incorporated into it:
Three electric motors
A four-wheel energy regeneration and drive system has been adopted which includes in-wheel motors in the front wheels in addition to one 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor. Thanks to this energy regeneration system with three motors/generators, the vehicle can more efficiently recover a greater amount of energy during rapid deceleration and braking from high speeds.
Specially Designed Capacitor
In light of the fact that racing involves a repeated acceleration and deceleration under full system performance, a quick-charging capacitor system was adopted instead of the usual rechargeable batteries.