Toyota's GT300 Prius racerEnlarge Photo
Think of Japan’s Super GT Series, and you probably think of highly-tuned race car versions of rear-wheel drive production cars.
But in in the 2012 GT300 class, the traditional image of GT race cars could be challenged by not one, but two hybrid cars.
As MotorAuthority reported yesterday, Toyota is rumored to be replacing its Corolla Axio GT300 race-specification car with a Toyota Prius hybrid race car designed specifically for the series.
With race rules for the GT300 class limiting power to 300 horsepower, a beefed-up hybrid drivetrain could help provide low-end torque to give the Toyota GT race car good performance off the line, while regenerative braking and hybrid battery pack would form the basis of a race-ready Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) system.
If Spanish site Motorpassion F1 is to be believed, the race-ready Prius will be joined by another hybrid race car for the 2012 season in the form of the Honda CR-Z sports hybrid.
Since retiring the NSX from the series in 2005, Honda has been absent from the prestigious race series, but sources close to the company cite that a race-ready CR-Z hybrid will be among the racers next year.
Neither Toyota nor Honda have confirmed the rumors yet, although we won’t have long to wait to find out if they’re true, as both the teams and cars racing in the 2012 season will be officially announced next month.
We’re pleased to see hybrid technology leave the confines of the niche eco-arena and enter into the world of mainstream Motorsport, but have one more question we’d like answered:
How long before Nissan’s race-ready Leaf Nismo RC competes alongside gasoline and hybrid Super GT cars?