A hydrogen-powered Toyota Corolla has finished the five-hour Super Taikyu endurance race at Autopolis in Japan, finishing 43rd out of 44 classified race finishers in the endurance race. Drivers included Takuto Iguchi, Takamitsu Matsui and Masahiro Sasaki, along with Toyota president Akio Toyoda who raced under his regular racing entry pseudonym “Morizo”.

“We were able to finish the Fuji 24 Hours, but only after experiencing a lot of issues, so we aimed to improve the reliability of the car. We completely changed the engine spec since [the race at] Fuji, so the acceleration has improved by 9%, its weight reduced by 40 kg, and some settings have been changed, such as the height of the roll centre,” Toyota Gazoo Racing president Koji Sato told motorsport.com.

The hydrogen-powered Corolla race car packs the 1.6 litre turbocharged inline-three-cylinder engine from the GR Yaris road car, albeit adapted to run on compressed hydrogen instead of petrol. In standard production form, the G16E-GTS petrol engine produces 261 PS at 6,500 rpm and 3,000 to 4,600 rpm in European tune, which is 11 PS and 10 Nm down on the Japanese-market model.

Further improvements came in the form of an increased fuel flow rate that improved refuelling by 40% following discussions with the FIA, Sato added. In qualifying, the hydrogen-powered Corolla placed 37th out of 49 competitors with a best lap of two minutes 9.992 seconds, which was more than two seconds ahead of the slowest ST-5 class qualifier, and within one second of the slowest in the ST-4 class.

Toyota’s hydrogen-powered racer was entered in the ST-Q category under the ORC Rookie Racing outfit, and finished 27 laps behind the overall race winner, a McLaren 720S GT3 entered by Floral Racing ABSSA Motorsport driven by Keita Sawa, Teruhiko Hamano and Shintaro Kawabata.

The ABSSA Motorsport outfit eventually clinched the race victory from the GTNet Motor Sport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 that took the chequered flag, as the car was disqualified for not carrying the mandated amount of success ballast.