Toyota Is Developing Hydrogen-Engine Tech Through Racing

Toyota Motor Corporation said it is developing a hydrogen racing engine, hoping to “move toward a carbon-neutral mobility society,” the company says. Toyota is running the engine in a Corolla-based racer under the ORC ROOKIE Racing banner.

The automaker says the first race will be Round 3 of the Super Taikyu Series Powered by Hankook, a 24-hour race at Fuji, May 21-23. The Super Taikyu series is an endurance series for touring cars running in Japan.

Toyota officials told Autoweek that the engine is a 1.6-liter turbocharged three cylinder.

Toyota has used hydrogen in its powertrains before, in its Mirai production car for example. The Mirai system runs on a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell, producing the electricity powering the engine. The race engine doesn’t use electricity, however. It operates like a combustion engine and in fact uses an injection system based on gasoline engines.

Toyota says that by honing its prototype hydrogen engine in racing’s “harsh environment,” the company “aims to contribute to the realization of a sustainable and prosperous mobility society.”

The company also says hydrogen combustion in hydrogen engines occurs quicker than in gasoline engines, resulting in improved responsiveness.

Toyota is applying the technologies it continues to refine in racing to its production cars, using the GR Yaris launched last September as an example.

Toyota says it has been “strengthening its efforts toward achieving carbon neutrality by aiming to promote the use of hydrogen through the popularization of FCEVs and numerous other fuel-cell-powered products. By further refining its hydrogen-engine technologies through motorsports, Toyota intends to aim for the realization of an even better hydrogen-based society,” the company said.

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