How Toyota is taking hydrogen racing

Hydrogen engine

Motorsport may seem an unlikely test bed for a powertrain innovation that could help society achieve carbon neutral status. Yet Toyota has recently announced that its engineers have developed and installed a new, hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine that made its competitive debut in Japan’s punishing Super Taikyu production-based endurance race series.

The engine is a turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder unit, similar to that used in the highly acclaimed GR Yaris. Interestingly, we’re told that it uses modified versions of the same fuel supply and injection systems fitted as original equipment in the latest Toyota internal combustion engines. But instead of using these to burn fossil-derived petrol and producing carbon dioxide emissions, the engine runs on compressed hydrogen and emits virtually zero emissions.

Japan’s production-based Super Taikyu endurance race series will provide the ideal test bed for Toyota’s new hydrogen engine

What’s more, combustion in hydrogen engines happens at a faster rate compared to traditional petrol engines. This makes them more responsive and therefore ideal for motorsport, while still communicating the same rewarding mechanical and aural feedback. The rest of the hydrogen engine’s architecture remains comfortingly familiar, with reciprocating internals lubricated in the traditional way through a wet sump arrangement. It is only the burning of minute quantities of oil from the lubrication of the cylinder walls that creates any emissions.

By promoting the use of hydrogen in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) such as the Toyota Mirai, Toyota has been strengthening its efforts towards achieving carbon neutrality. Its use of motorsport to further refine its hydrogen engine technologies supports our aim of realising an even better hydrogen-based society.

It was installed in the ST-4 class Toyota Corolla run by the championship-winning Orc Rookie Racing team.

23 comments

  1. So obvious that Hydrogen is the way to go. All we need now is the cheap development of a kit to change existing petrol/diesel to hydrogen

  2. Congratulations to Toyota. The use of hydrogen engines is the way forward.
    Can’t wait to see hydrogen cars on the retail market.

  3. This maybe of use to heavy haulage because of the weight issues of batteries but for cars it’s a non starter.
    Electric cars have far fewer moving parts and will be cheaper to maintain, most owners will not need the power requirements of heavy vehicles and once the recharging network is developed any range anxiety will evaporate.
    Wonderful to see the technology being developed but in the small vehicle world not much use.

  4. Great idea. As a classic car owner van this tech be adapted to retro fit an okd car to run on hydrogen.

  5. All hail Toyota

    Where they lead the others follow.

    Please do a V12 with Ferrari so we can save these wonderful sounds for the future of enthusiasts everywhere

  6. Just waiting till you can get a 4×4 that coulsd cross Kenya/africa on hydrogen That woulkd be an expedition to write home about

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