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Toyota's Electric 'Ring Racer: Japanese Maker Sets Up EV Hot-Rod Business

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Toyota electric race car prototype live photos - Copyright High Gear Media

Toyota electric race car prototype live photos - Copyright High Gear Media

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There’s a new race among automakers and independent startups all around the world, and that is to be the leader in the advanced world of high-performance electric cars.

And while major automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz are dabbling in the field of road-going cars with their respective e-tron and E-Cell projects, Toyota is looking to also be one of the first to develop a fully fledged electric race car.

That’s where the electric race car prototype you see here comes into focus.

As previously reported, the prototype is set to attempt a new electric car lap record of the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, a record which currently stands at 9:01.3 as set by the Peugeot EX1 electric concept car earlier this year.

Toyota is hoping to break the 8 minute barrier.

However, it goes beyond just bragging rights. The prototype has been developed by Germany’s Toyota Motorsports GmbH (TMG), an independently run skunk works of sorts, which was formerly responsible for Toyota’s Formula 1 efforts.

Toyota F1 knowledge used for electric race car prototype

Toyota F1 knowledge used for electric race car prototype

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All the equipment to build and race F1 cars is still sitting at TMG’s main facility in Cologne, Germany, where it is often rented out to other firms working on race cars of their own. Most famously, Ferrari often uses TMG’s wind tunnel to help fine tune its F1 cars.

All of TMG’s resources and knowledge are now going to develop future technologies such as this electric race car prototype.

In a recent interview, TMG’s communications officer Alastair Moffitt revealed that much of the technology hidden underneath the Radical SR3 race car shell of this prototype has been derived from the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) developed during Toyota’s F1 days.

A pair of electric motors sourced from Evo Electric provide the motive force and are rated at a combined 280 kW (375 horsepower). They send drive to the rear wheels via a single speed gearbox and when at peak power will accelerate the 2,138 pound prototype from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and see it reach a top speed of 161 mph. You'll note that this is the same acceleration figure for the Tesla Roadster.

The complete driving range at moderate speeds is 124 miles, although at race speeds this will be much lower. Powering the electric motors is a special lithium-ceramic battery supplied by Li-Tech.

Oven used to bake carbon fiber components

Oven used to bake carbon fiber components

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TMG will take its prototype to the Nurburgring on August 28 and if all goes as planned we will see a new lap record set.

The long-term goal of TMG is to establish itself as a leader in the development and manufacture of customer electric race cars, and in fact, sales of this prototype race car’s drivetrain to private customers are scheduled to begin as early as next year.

[Toyota Motorsport GmbH]

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Comments (2)
  1. I think this is really exciting, electric cars are in a full scale comeback and we're already seeing them work their way into motorsports. And motorsports fans should love the fact that the electric revolution will not mean the end of racing. I'm looking forward to the results on the 28th.
     
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  2. I totally agree. Here's hoping they do it!
     
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