July 18, 2007 A new era dawned on the weekend when Toyota won the Tokashi 24-Hour Race with its Supra HV-R hybrid race car. It is the first time a hybrid race car has won a competition of any form though the Supra is quite different to roadgoing hybrids as it incorporates a quick-charging capacitor system and the four-wheel energy regeneration is tuned to work efficiently in recovering a large amount of the car’s energy during rapid deceleration. The system uses 10kw in-wheel motors in the front wheels plus a 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor. In total, the 1,080 kg Supra has a whopping 700 horsepower (473 bhp from the 4.5 litre petrol motor and 227 bhp from the electric motors). More importantly, the low down grunt afforded by the electric motors along with the ability to measure and modify the additional torque thousands of times per wheel per second make the car far more controllable than a simple petrol engined vehicle … not to mention kinder on tyres, more economical and brutally quick on the exit to corners.
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