In hopes of making an impression at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Toyota will be bringing back its hybrid Supra HV-R GT racer. It can be recalled that in the summer of 2007, this V8-powered Supra with front in-wheel motors scored a historic win at Japan's 24-hour Tokkachi endurance race. However, soon after winning that race, the Supra went underground as Toyota concentrated on other forms of racing.
We know now that the car, or actually the hybrid tech that followed it, is still around. This led to speculations that Toyota is thinking about building an all-new car to bring the technology up to date and to most likely mount a renewed assault on Le Mans, which it has been seeking to win.
We think that this hybrid car would do well at the GT1 class at Le Mans and at the same time boost Toyota's green image, similar to what the carmaker is cultivating in Europe with the Prius.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves since Toyota would have to be profitable once more before any official program can be considered. At this rate, it doesn´t look like the car will appear earlier than in 2012.
The HV-R from 2007 was based on the 4.5-liter normally aspirated V8 Supra that Toyota was then running in Super GT, Japan's biggest domestic race series.
Aside from the huge 473bhp V8, the Supra featured an ultra-trick four-wheel brake energy regeneration/drive system, which has front-in wheel motors, a rear 150 kW motor and a quick-charging capacitor in place of a rechargable battery. It had been a complex undertaking but the car was able to complete the 24 hours and win the race.