ROOKIE Racing Co., Ltd. (ROOKIE Racing) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced their competition in the IDEMITSU 1500 SUPER ENDURANCE 2022 (Thailand 25H Endurance Race) at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand from December 17 to 18, 2022. They will race with the ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 concept, a hydrogen engine vehicle *1., and the ORC ROOKIE GR86 CNF Concept, a carbon-neutral fuel vehicle*2. The participation will not be for the entire 25-hours but will be for the first and last few hours of the race. This will be the first time for both vehicles to compete in a race outside of Japan.
In addition, one of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Thailand’s vehicles is also going to run on carbon neutral fuels. Starting with participation in the Thailand 25H Endurance Race, ROOKIE Racing and Toyota, will continuously strive to increase and accelerate development of carbon neutral technologies in Asia through motorsports.
<ROOKIE Racing challenge in Super Taikyu series in Japan>
ROOKIE Racing and Toyota participated in the Super Taikyu series*3 in Japan midway through the 2021 season, with a hydrogen-powered Corolla, and accelerated efforts towards “producing,” “transporting,” and “using” hydrogen, together with like-minded partners inside and outside the industry with the aim of helping to achieve a true carbon neutral society. From the 2022 season, in addition to the hydrogen engine Corolla, ROOKIE Racing and Toyota are racing the synthetic fuel GR86 and continuing to approach the challenge of expanding clean energy options, including through the use of internal combustion engines.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, is also the founder and team owner of ROOKIE Racing and participates under driver name “Morizo”.
Expansion of Motorsports activities to Asia
Recently, during the ninth round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Ypres in August and the 13th round of the WRC in Japan in November, ROOKIE Racing and Toyota ran a demonstration of the GR Yaris H2 hydrogen engine vehicle under test development. This was aimed at demonstrating the potential of hydrogen as a viable option for achieving carbon neutrality under grueling rally conditions. Morizo also drove the vehicle to provide its safety and performance credentials.
Now the demonstration moves to Asia. The Chang International Circuit venue is a major international circuit in Thailand, and hosts the Thailand MotoGP, the world’s most prestigious motorcycle racing series. Since the circuit opened in 2014, Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd. has been the main sponsor, and has promoted the development of motorsports in Thailand by holding one-make races there. Rookie Racing won the 10-hour “IDEMITSU 600 SUPER ENDURANCE 2019”, its first entry in a race held at the circuit. This year, ROOKIE Racing and Toyota’s first entry in three years, the cars will be tested in an environment different from Japan, to accelerate efforts to expand technology options toward creating a carbon neutral society across the globe.
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GR86 CNF Concept
GR Corolla H2 Concept
Toyota’s Stance towards Carbon Neutrality in Asia Through Multiple Pathways
Toyota is committed to global carbon neutrality by 2050 in a practical and sustainable manner while also delivering Mobility for All, and Toyota in Asia, is fully aligned with these efforts.
Toyota is developing and bringing a full line-up of electrified vehicles to Asian markets to expand carbon neutral and carbon reducing options for the customer, including hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. These options provide choices to meet the diverse economic realities of customers, the available energy sources, charging infrastructure readiness, industrial policies and varied customer mobility needs in each Country.
This approach will help achieve accessible electrification at scale and speed, supporting each country’s prioritized national objectives, including carbon neutrality, air quality improvement, oil import reduction, industrial development and sustainable employment while providing realistic mobility solutions. In this regard Toyota aims to work towards carbon neutrality, based on the fundamental principles of “Mobility for All” wherein there is a goal to “Leave No One Behind”.
ROOKIE Racing and Toyota’s participation in the Buriram race, showcases the new technologies of hydrogen engine and synthetic fuel vehicles within the region. Furthermore, it solidifies Toyota’s commitment to further expand and accelerate the development of carbon neutral mobility options to Asia, through motorsports.
*1 The hydrogen engine generates power through the combustion of hydrogen using fuel supply and injection systems that have been modified from those used with gasoline engines. Except for the combustion of minute amounts of engine oil during driving, which is also the case with gasoline engines, hydrogen engines emit zero CO2 when in use.
Combustion in hydrogen engines occurs at a faster rate than in gasoline engines, resulting in a characteristic of good responsiveness. While having excellent environmental performance, hydrogen engines also have the potential to relay the fun of driving, through sound and vibrations
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*2: Carbon Neutral Fuels/ Synthetic fuels are liquid fuels produced artificially from carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen. The fuels are considered carbon-neutral because of the amount of CO2 generated when combusting them equals that recovered in producing the fuels. Synthetic fuels made from hydrogen produced with renewable energy are known as “e-fuels”. These synthetic fuels and plant-derived fuels are both “carbon-neutral fuels”.
*3: The Super Taikyu Series is a car endurance racing series for commercially available vehicles that launched in Japan in 1991. Commonly known as “S-Tai” in Japan, the race has come to be known as one of the foremost open-format endurance race series in Asia and has been loved by many fans over the years. It has also seen a growing number of drivers from neighboring Asian countries participate in it during recent years.