In a world first, a liquid hydrogen-powered Corolla ran a 24-hour endurance race, capping off a long process of trial and error.
After completing a grueling 24-hour race on May 28, 2023 the Corolla and its driver, Morizo, were greeted by thunderous applause.
Never before had a car running on liquid hydrogen competed in racing. Even with a scheduled pitstop to replace the hydrogen pump, Morizo and his four teammates (Hiroaki Ishiura, Masahiro Sasaki, Yasuhiro Ogura, and Jari-Matti Latvala) completed 358 laps, totaling some 1,634 km.
As fate would have it, that number equaled the feat notched up by the Corolla at that same racetrack (Fuji International Speedway, Oyama, Shizuoka) two years earlier, then running on gaseous hydrogen.
Getting to this point took a great deal of trial and error.
Having covered all kinds of vehicle development genba, Toyota Times News traces the team’s travails.
The road to a world-first attempt
From maintaining the extreme temperature of -253°C to keeping the pump going, the unprecedented endeavor brought one challenge after another.
In March, the car caught fire during a test run at Fuji International Speedway, forcing the team to drop out of the five-hour endurance race scheduled ten days later at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture.
The developers worked frantically to get back on track.
Just two months on, the Corolla successfully shed 50 kg for the 24-hour race, drawing a great deal of media attention as it hurtled around the circuit in a largely trouble-free run.
An impressive finish, to the great delight of the mechanics, drivers, and all involved!
Don’t miss a minute of this exciting quest to create ever-better cars through motorsports.
Top image: Noriaki Mitsuhashi (N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY)
00:32 Following a world-first challenge
03:14 New partners join in development
05:13 An unprecedented challenge, unrelenting trials
08:30 First run on the track
10:45 An ill-fated debut…
15:27 All hands on deck in desperate effort
21:16 The fateful 24-hour race gets underway
22:56 Pump presents biggest hurdle
25:13 For the final leg, there could only be one driver
26:29 “The finish line is our starting line”