Team Wales driving for national pride in Toyota’s Nations Challenge
Competition has always burned fierce between the UK’s four home nations and this Saturday they will be locked in sporting combat of a new kind in the first Toyota Nations Challenge. The honour of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be carried by eight identical Toyota Auris hybrids, tasked with covering a 60-mile route from Brighton to London using the least possible fuel.
Not only is Auris HSD the first hybrid to be manufactured in Europe (at Burnaston in Derbyshire), it is powered by engines built in Wales, at Toyota’s Deeside plant, which means it can flyY Ddraig Goch with true pride. The pilots of the two Team Wales cars are some of the principality’s best-respected journalists: Robin Roberts is partnered by Mark James, and Simon Harris is driving with John Slavin.
The eco-driving contest aims to show just how frugal the full hybrid Auris HSD can be; even on the basis of its official 70.6mpg combined cycle performance, it should be able to complete the course on less than a gallon of petrol. It also flags up – literally – the car’s “built in Britain” quality, with each team’s machine finished in a patriotic livery.
The competition is taking place within the first RAC Future Car Challenge, in which Toyota has also entered all three generations of Prius, plus the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and, running for the first time in the UK, its FCHV-adv zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
At the end of the run all the Toyota entries will parade with other Future Car Challenge entries in Regent Street in the West End, alongside their automotive “ancestors” which will be taking part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday.