Toyota Prius … Race Car?!?

Picture copyright someone ... Toyota, probably

According to this article the rumour is that Toyota is thinking about entering a modified Prius race car in the GT300 racing series.  When I finally stopped laughing (my initial gut reaction) I decided I should put some real thought into this.

Motorsport is where automotive technology gets improved.  This idea of racing hybrids may seem a tad silly on the face of it, but it might not be.  The KERS as seen in F1 is just a modified hybrid system.  If the hybrid car is ever to stop just being an automotive joke and become something that doesn't suck, the only way it will happen is if it becomes a competition, and not a competition to see who can make the slowest most boring cars (which the current generation of hybrids are clearly proving to be true).

On top of that the Prius race car concept they have on the picture there looks a LOT better than the Prius on the road at the moment; certainly better than the awful jellybean looking thing that's in production currently.

I've said for awhile that if you want cars to be efficient make it a competition.  You want 100MPG?  Make it a competition!  The drivers, for the most part, don't care what they are driving so long as it's fast and they have a chance at the driver's championship; but the teams want to win the manufacturer's championship. If you make "green" part of that they will respond with research, development and performance.

This might not be such a bad idea, actually.