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August 5, 2021

Toyota's Hydrogen-Fueled Corolla Race Car Finished Second To The Last

After competing and finishing the Fuji Supertec 24-hour endurance race, Toyota brought their upgraded combustion-engined Corolla, fueled by hydrogen to the five-hour Super Taikyu race in Autopolis. It finished 43rd out of 44th; but that’s beside the point.

Plagued with issues at its inaugural outing at Fuji, Toyota moved to quickly improve the hydrogen-fueled Corolla’s 1.6-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder (yes, it’s the same basic engine found in the GR Yaris). According to Toyota, their rolling test bed offered 15 percent more torque and refueled 40 percent faster than in Fuji. Toyota engineers were also able to cut 40 percent more weight and improve its center of gravity.

In fact, despite finishing second to the last, the Corolla showed potential, qualifying 37th out of 49 runners. In the race proper, it finished 27 laps down the race-winning McLaren 720S GT3. However, it showed an improved average speed—from 67.963 km/h in Fuji to 78.715 km/h at Autopolis.

Again, the point of Toyota racing the hydrogen-fueled Corolla is to fuel (pardon the pun) conversation surrounding the future of combustion engines. Repeatedly, Akio Toyoda thinks that electric vehicles or EVs isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. He believes that there should be a wider range of choices, and a combustion engined car powered by hydrogen could be one of them.

To further prove a point, the Corolla’s hydrogen fuel was sustainably sourced from local sources based on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu.

Toyoda said that the one-of-a-kind Corolla will compete in the remaining Super Taikyu rounds in Suzuka and Okayama.

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