Hybrid Supra HV-R GT racer could take on Le Mans

Toyota is set to bring back its hybrid Supra HV-R GT racer as part of an assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours.

This V8-powered Supra with front in-wheel motors won Japan’s 24-hour Tokkachi endurance race back in summer 2007.

The Supra made history by winning that race, but then went underground as Toyota concentrated on other forms of racing.

However, the car - or at least, the hybrid tech that powered it - is still alive. This has given rise to hopes that Toyota may think about building an all-new car to bring the technology up to date and perhaps mount a renewed assault on Le Mans, a race it has tried so very hard to win.

Such a hybrid car would be perfect for the GT1 class at Le Mans and boost the green image that Toyota is already cultivating in Europe with the Prius.

But Toyota will need to get back into profit before any official programme can be contemplated, so such a car may not appear until 2012 at the earliest.

The HV-R from 2007 was based on the ferocious 4.5-litre normally aspirated V8 Supra that Toyota was then running in Super GT, Japan’s biggest domestic race series.

Besides the big, grunty 473bhp V8, the Supra featured an ultra-trick four-wheel brake energy regeneration/drive system, with front-in wheel motors, a rear 150 kW motor and a quick-charging capacitor in place of a rechargable battery. It was complex, but it did complete the 24 hours and take the spoils at the end of the race.

Peter Nunn

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Toyota reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried
  • First Drive
    27 February 2015
    Dual motors and a power hike give Tesla's electric family car supercar acceleration - and the rest of the package is as strong as ever
  • Car review
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.