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LF-A at 2012 LeMans?
by IKE 20-Dec-2009 16:43

More than two years ago a Toyota Supra HV-R GT hybrid won the 24h Tokachi race in Japan scoring the first victory for a hybrid gasoline-electric racecar. From then on there are rumors that Toyota will enter the GT class at LeMans with a hybrid or even challenge the diesel dominators with an LMP prototype. A recent Autocar article speculates a Toyota entry with the Supra HV-R GT. However this car is very old, its production model is out of production for years and the Tokachi winner was the semi-official team SARD.Hybrid technology is Toyota's technology posterchild. If Toyota decides to enter LeMans with its first ever official hybrid racer it will probably be with the new Lexus LF-A. In two years it will be well in production and it is overengineered as it is to form an excellent basis for a GT racecar without a huge development cost even with the addition of a hybrid drivetrain.---

The Supra HV-R GT hybrid used a N/A 4.5lt V8 combined with a 150kW electric motor in the rear axle and two small 10kW electric motors for each of the front wheels. LF-A uses a transaxle architecture where the rear gearbox assembly could be replaced with a hybrid version without unsettling the balance of the car.

This is still highly speculative but supports LF-A's role as a halo model for Lexus and Toyota. A GT entry at LeMans is a fraction of the cost that Toyota spend for F1 and the publicity will be huge even with a mediocre result.

(LF-A photo from the pre-production racecar model, Supra photo from the Tokachi race in 2007)

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