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. The Toyota GR Corolla will be complemented by an ORC ROOKIE GR86 CNF Concept, a carbon-neutral fuel vehicle. 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 the development of carbon-neutral technologies in Asia through motorsports.
ROOKIE Racing and Toyota participated in the Super Taikyu series 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 is 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 the driver name “Morizo”.
As a recap, the Toyota GR Corolla that will participate in the endurance race uses a modified version of the 1.6-liter turbo three-cylinder from the GR Yaris hot hatch. Unlike the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), hydrogen combustion engines actually combust hydrogen just like in an internal combustion engine, but with much fewer pollutants.
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.