Toyota GR Prius hybrid hot-hatch concept unveiled
The latest creation from the Toyota Gazoo Racing high-performance division is a Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback concept, said to be inspired by Le Mans racing.
The Toyota Prius – a pioneer of petrol-electric hybrid technology two decades ago – has been given the Gazoo Racing high-performance treatment to celebrate the 100th running of the Le Mans endurance race this weekend.
However the high-performance Prius is just a concept for now – and it is unclear if there are any plans to put it into production, with traditional hybrid or plug-in hybrid propulsion.
Officially known as the Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition, the concept car – based on the latest Prius not sold in Australia – is said to be a “tribute to Le Mans where Toyota has competed with hybrid-electric race cars since 2012.”
It is 90mm longer, 50mm wider and 30mm lower than a standard Prius, thanks to a motorsport-inspired body kit with larger splitters, side skirts, and a fixed rear wing.
The wheel arches gain black flares to house 40mm-broader track widths, and new 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin performance tyres each 40mm wider than those on the standard car.
Up front there are ‘ice cube’ fog lights inspired by Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid Le Mans race car, and lightweight carbon fibre for the bonnet and panel connecting the headlights.
Other highlights include a carbon-fibre rear wing, more aggressive rear diffuser, aero canards on the front bumper, and a white, black and red livery with GR decals.
There is no mention of performance upgrades, and Toyota does not state if the concept is a hybrid or plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The photos published by the Japanese car giant only show the left side of the vehicle, where the fuel filler flap is on a regular Prius – rather than the right side of the car, where the charging port is located on the PHEV.
The standard Prius hybrid is available with a 2.0-litre engine and electric motors developing 146kW combined, good for claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in about 7.5 seconds with all-wheel drive.
Meanwhile, a standard Prius Prime plug-in hybrid uses the same 2.0-litre engine with a more powerful front electric motor, larger 13.6kWh battery and front-wheel-drive only for a 164kW power output, and 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.7 seconds.
Toyota says “competing in motorsport [has] enabled its engineers to develop ever-better hybrid-electric system technologies for its road-going production vehicles.
“Some of the noted advanced include improved cooling, miniaturisation of inverters mounted directly on electric motors, and development of silicon carbide and high voltages for semiconductors,” the company says in its media release.
The Toyota GR Prius concept is due to make its public debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race this weekend.