TOYOTA GAZOO Racing unveiled the “Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition” concept vehicle at the “Japan. Endless Discovery.” joint exhibit being held by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda), and TGR at the Manufacturers’ Village of the centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours (Le Mans) in France. The new concept vehicle pays tribute to the fabled Le Mans race.
“Japan. Endless Discovery.” is a JNTO initiative carried out with Mazda, which, in 1991, fielded the first Japanese car to take the overall title at Le Mans, and TGR, which represents the only Japanese automaker currently competing in Le Mans and which is now on a five-year winning streak. The exhibit, while looking back at the technologies that Japanese automakers have cultivated in motorsports, including Le Mans, introduces the challenge of expanding options toward achieving a carbon-neutral society, such as vehicle electrification, hydrogen energy, and the use of carbon-neutral fuels.
To convey the scenery and culture of Japan, as well as the history of Mazda and Toyota at Le Mans, through Japanese manga, which are highly popular symbols of modern Japanese culture, the exhibit’s walls have been decorated by manga artist Masahito Soda*1, who is known for his motorsports-themed capeta manga series.
It was at this exhibition that TGR unveiled for the first time in the world the “Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition” concept vehicle, which is based on the latest-generation Toyota Prius and expresses gratitude to Le Mans and France’s Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which is the organizer of the race. The concept vehicle achieves excellent driving performance due in part to its exclusive wheels and performance aerodynamic parts inspired by TGR’s WEC-competing GR010 HYBRID, and it is due to be displayed at the WEC’s Round 6, which is the 6 Hours of Fuji endurance race, and other events.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has been honing hybrid systems at Le Mans and in other WEC races since 2012. The knowledge gained through doing so has been applied to production vehicles such as the Prius, which is synonymous with Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. TGR will continue to develop technologies toward realizing a sustainable mobility society through its efforts to make ever-better motorsports-bred cars.
Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition – main equipment and features:
- Improved aerodynamics and traction by way of exclusive performance aerodynamic parts (side skirts, canards, large rear wing, rear diffuser, etc.)
- Lightweight carbon-fiber hood
- Wide-track suspension, 235/50R18-inch tires, and exclusive aerodynamic wheels
- Added multi-headlamps for improved nighttime visibility
Comment by Masahito Soda:
“For me, a race fan for as long as I can remember, June is a special month every year. It was fun for me to reflect on the famous scenes so far and to draw while imbuing my pen with respect. To the great Le Mans 24 Hours, which marks its centenary, to Mazda, which was the first Japanese manufacturer to win Le Mans, to TGR, which is contributing to the world through its victories in Le Mans and other motorsports events, and to all the racing drivers who continue to inspire us, I would like to say: “Thank you very much”. I have learned a great deal from Japanese craftmanship and the attitude of taking on challenges while never giving up, especially since I became a manga artist. Toward the realization of a carbon-neutral society and the taking on of new challenges for the future, I believe that this race will surely open up a world of possibilities. I will put everything I have into supporting it again this year.”