The Toyota Prius was the first affordable hybrid car we saw on the market, giving us a car that we could enjoy giving us the added benefit of increase fuel mileage form a hybrid powertrain. The Prius has been so popular, arriving at the right time when gas prices were on the rise, that it now has come into its fourth generation of the car. As the most popular hybrid car on the road today the Prius has given us a great deal of joy, but other companies have seen the positives of using hybrid technology with the engines of some super sports car to create higher performance.
What these companies have seen is that the addition of electric motors to different parts of either axle of their cars gives them instant torque, a huge bump in horsepower to allow the car to go faster. The added benefit that some super sports car makers have found is that smaller engines can be used to gain the same or better overall horsepower, making for lighter cars that are quicker and easier to handle overall. There are many examples of these supercars being fitted with this hybrid technology, but what about the original?
The Prius gets a chance to be a great race car now as APR Racing shows up with their SuperGT Prius race car that is to make the racing circuit in Japan. This race car is built for the fourth-generation Prius model but the powertrain has changed dramatically to be fitting of a race car. The tiny engine that normally finds its way to the engine bay of the Prius is discarded in favor of a 3.4-liter V8 engine to be a powerful and perfect racing engine to use for the circuit all around Japan.
This new GT300 is probably the most aggressive Prius you could ever imagine. The splitter actually makes contact with the ground at the front and the fenders are wide enough to cover the track tires while the large wing and diffuser help to keep this car on the ground in the rear for the most control for the driver. Because this car has been modified APR Racing chose to balance the weight by putting the hybrid system hardware in the passenger area to match the weight of a typical driver and offer a car that is better balanced than most others on the racing circuit.
This new Prius SuperGT car will be shown at the Tokyo Auto Salon and make its debut on the track over the weened of April 9 and 10. This debut will be at the SuperGT season opener that is located at the Okayama International Circuit. Until the Tokyo Auto Salon we don’t have the details of the horsepower or the handling of this upgraded Prius, but it’s certainly about time the Prius was given its crack at being the racing car with the high power of the hybrid motor that it should be allowed to be. It will be interesting to see how this car performs on the racing circuit later this year as the season comes to an opening weekend that should be a lot of fun.