Toyota Mirai FCV goes Rallying in Germany
Rally fans in Germany recently witnessed a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai being put through its paces. Are Toyota seriously considering a pollution-free rally vehicle?
Just last month, we told you how Toyota were putting their faith in Tommi Mäkinen to lead them to victory in the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC). A couple of months before that, we revealed Toyota’s rather ambitious plans to take a modified RAV4 LE and race it in this year’s Rally America season.
But did you ever think we’d be reporting on a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai silently powersliding its way along a WRC event course?
At the ADAC Rally Deutschland, a WRC event taking place near Trier, Germany last weekend, Toyota gave rally fans a glimpse of what a hydrogen-powered rally vehicle can do.
The Mirai was used as the stage opener, which means it navigated the course at a relatively brisk pace before the actual rally kicked off. Despite appearing on a non-competitive basis, Toyota couldn’t resist the urge to fit the Mirai with performance brake pads, rally tyres, bucket seats and a full rollcage for the event.
Despite the flashy rally extras, the Mirai is identical to the 200 US-spec models that are expected to make their way to California later this year. That means it puts out 153-horsepower and is capable of doing 0-60 mph in around 9.6 seconds. Hardly rally-grade performance, but the Mirai’s low centre of gravity apparently makes it a lot more entertaining to drive than its specs would have you believe.
Yoshikazu Tanaka, the Mirai’s chief engineer, said: “It is our dream that one day our fuel cell vehicles will be able to compete in WRC. Spectators at the Rallye Deutschland will have to get used to this noiseless premiere at Trier, but they’ll experience the art of an almost pollution-free future.”
Toyota’s 2017 WRC dreams are being pinned on a 1.6-litre turbocharged Yaris-based rally car. Whether a hydrogen-powered competitive rally vehicle is ever produced remains to be seen. But it’s definitely not out of the question entirely.