Toyota Mirai becomes first hydrogen-powered pace car
The roar of V8s at NASCAR races is definitely one of the biggest attractions, but spectators at the recent Toyota Owners 400 witnessed a hydrogen-powered first.
We recently told you about Toyota’s mission to revolutionise the modern automobile landscape with the introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles. And while the Japanese firm have come up against many critics, including a number of high-profile individuals within the automotive industry, they have been determined to press on with their ambitions.
But the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond over the weekend saw a hydrogen-powered pace car lead the field for the first time ever, The Toyota Mirai, which was emblazoned with special livery and sported a light bar on the roof, made NASCAR history as it led the cars to the green flag for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup round.
Before it could be signed off for the event, the Mirai had to prove its performance and show that it was capable of leading the 43-car field.
Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., said: “Having a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pace the Toyota Owners 400 is a historic moment for both Toyota and NASCAR and we’re proud it’s the Toyota Mirai.” He added: “Bringing the Mirai to Richmond to pace this important race is another way for Toyota to showcase our innovation and environmental leadership.”
Toyota has made something of a habit of showing off their green credentials at track events, with the Toyota Camry Hybrid being the first hybrid vehicle to be pace car at a full NASCAR race – the Coca Cola 600 back in May 2009.
With more than 2 million hybrid vehicles now on U.S. roads, Toyota has embraced the environmental sustainability more than any other automobile manufacturer. Their development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies simply serves to emphasise further their relentless commitment for driving innovation.
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