Toyota gave thousands of motorsport fans at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a taste of how the race and rally cars of the future might sound and perform, showcasing its development of alternative, sustainable power technologies.
Last weekend’s event hosted the UK debut of the GR Yaris H2, a prototype rally car which uses hydrogen fuel in an internal combustion engine – a development of the three-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit featured in the production GR Yaris. At the same time as it significantly reduces tailpipe carbon emissions, the powertrain maintains the sound and feel that are traditionally part of the excitement of watching and participating in motorsport.
The hydrogen theme continued with the first UK appearance of the GR H2 Racing Concept. This hydrogen-engine prototype has been developed with future competition in mind, notably a top H2 category proposed for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The car featured in a static display at the festival, alongside the GR010 Hybrid, which has been a dominant force in the FIA World Endurance Championship since the introduction of the Le Mans Hypercar category in 2021.
The festival programme also included speed runs by a Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO running on a synthetic fuel. Earlier this year, the car demonstrated the potential of this technology, competing in the gruelling Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Toyota’s multi-technology approach was welcomed by David Richards CBE, Chair of Motorsport UK. He said: “A responsible approach to the environment is one of the biggest challenges motorsport faces today. If our sport is to flourish in the future, we must recognise the need to adopt alternatives to fossil fuels, whether that be sustainable fuels or – as Toyota demonstrated at Goodwood last weekend – hydrogen.
“We need to be pragmatic and open-minded when it comes to technical solutions that reduce our environmental impact while retaining some of the key characteristics of motorsport, including the sound generated by racing engines, which has always been an important feature of the sport. Toyota has done a wonderful job showing their hydrogen internal combustion engine does just that and it goes to show that motorsport can embrace the technologies of the future while retaining the sounds and sensations that we all know and love.”
The Toyota Gazoo Racing line-up at Goodwood included the GR DKR Hilux T1+ which took victory in this year’s Dakar Rally; the multi-world-championship-winning GR Yaris Hybrid Rally1; and the WRC2 Concept, designed for the second tier of international rally competition. The “Power of Three” GR-engineered road-going cars – GR Yaris, GR86 and GR Supra – were also in action, together with the new GR Supra 100th Edition Tribute, a limited edition of the coupe celebrating 100 sales of GR Supra GT4 race cars.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s star drivers were joined at last weekend’s event by internationally renowned actor and motorsports enthusiast Rowan Atkinson, who was a guest pilot of the hydrogen-powered GR Yaris H2 concept on the Goodwood hillclimb. Interviewed by a festival film crew after his run, Atkinson described the car as “tremendous fun” and revealed that he owns a road-going GR Yaris – “an extraordinary little pocket rocket”. He added: “(Hydrogen) is one of the directions Toyota feels motorsport could go, one of the options to retain the combustion engine so that you still have the emotion.”