Ypres, Belgium, August 21, 2022—Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that it has put its GR Yaris Htwo– a special hydrogen-powered version of the Toyota GR Yaris – through its paces in a demonstration race during round nine of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Ypres. The rally marked the first time Toyota had driven a hydrogen-powered vehicle under development on public roads outside of Japan.
At the wheel of the GR Yaris Htwo it was the president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, alias “Morizo”. Join him as co-pilot* was former Finnish driver and four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen, who once won a world title with Toyota.
The GR Yaris Htwo took to the rally circuit as a test car in Special Stage (SS) 11 on the second day (20 August) of the Ypres Rally Belgium from 19-21 August. The 15km SS 11 was laid out along extremely narrow country lanes that wound past fields and between houses, making it a challenging stage even for professional rally champions. The GR Yaris served as a test car and ran ahead of a safety car sent out to confirm the safety of the stage before the start of SS 11.
Although Morizo had never driven such roads or had the opportunity to inspect them before beginning his race, relying on Kankkunen’s guidance, he was able to interact with extremely slippery and ever-changing road surfaces to complete the course without incident.
Morizo’s post-race comments
I thank Juha for his courtesy in allowing me to drive. He guided me in sync with my driving, making me feel comfortable. The paths were hard, not only slippery but also narrow, and their surfaces seemed to change from moment to moment. They were like the roads used in Rally Japan, and it was a good opportunity to think about racing with the spectators in mind. We also had a (Toyota) Mirai (fuel cell electric vehicle) on site that demonstrated external power supply, and I think, together with driving with a hydrogen engine, we were able to highlight in Europe the potential of hydrogen as a option to achieve carbon neutrality.
Comments by Kankkunen
Akio’s driving was great. And the hydrogen engine puts out solid torque, so it’s no different from a gasoline engine. Because they emit zero COtwoI believe that hydrogen engines will become one of the options to achieve carbon neutrality not only in the world of motor sports but also in the world of everyday cars.
*GR Yaris Htwo driver on other days of the rally
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