Ever-Expanding Energy Options--Industries Team Up at Suzuka Opener


Toyota's effort to expand decarbonization options through the Super Taikyu Series heads into its third year. At the latest season opener, a group of like-minded partners spoke about their new energy projects.

This year, Toyota enters its third season of competing in the Super Taikyu Series ST-Q class, aiming to expand options for creating a decarbonized society. The team’s efforts are driven by the mindset that the enemy is carbon, not the internal combustion engine.

Within this ST-Q class, different companies are trialing new forms of energy that can expand carbon-neutral options: hydrogen, synthetic fuels, and biodiesel.

As the name suggests, Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Corolla runs on hydrogen, which emits no carbon dioxide during combustion, releasing only water.

While problems in practice forced the Corolla to miss the year’s opening race, this season, the team is taking on the challenge of switching from gaseous to liquid hydrogen, which offers higher energy density.

Last season’s heated rivalry between the #28 Toyota GR86 and #61 Subaru BRZ also returns, with both cars using synthetic fuels made from hydrogen and CO2.

Meanwhile, Mazda’s Spirit Racing Mazda3 Bio concept will race on a bio-based diesel fuel produced from materials such as microalgae fats and used cooking oil.

Although synthetic fuels and biodiesel emit some CO2 during driving, these are offset by CO2 captured from the atmosphere in the production process.

These companies continue to test new fuels in the extreme conditions of racing with the goal of making them commercially available.

If options don’t exist, it’s up to us to make them.

On March 18, a press conference was held at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, the venue for the 2023 season’s opening round. There, Toyota’s new president Koji Sato outlined his reasons for continuing to take on this challenge.

President Sato

Carbon neutrality can only be achieved through “purposeful passion and action. “If the options don’t exist, it’s up to us to make them.” This is the resolve that has driven us to continue honing the hydrogen-powered engine through racing.

In addition to our hydrogen-powered cars, since last year, we have also been pursuing new options running on carbon-neutral fuels.

Each attempt reinforces the importance of efforts that span the entire supply chain—producing, transporting, and using.

This emphasis has drawn in many more like-minded partners and spurred collaboration.

Nine new partners jumped on board for the season opener, bringing the total to 39 companies.

The first Super Taikyu attempt in a hydrogen-powered vehicle took place in May 2021. Initially, Toyota was backed by just eight other companies. By the end of the 2022 season, that number had swelled to 30; with nine more additions since, the partnership is now 39 companies strong.

President Sato

Alongside the companies involved in liquid hydrogen, automotive component makers are also using this race to help develop parts that will contribute to sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Right now, Super Taikyu is the place for wide-ranging efforts aimed at advancing automotive technologies toward mass production.

(To achieve a decarbonized society) I strongly believe that considering the entire energy supply chain is even more crucial than automotive technology.

In our frontline efforts, we will continue working closely with partners who share our passion and purpose, as we seek to demonstrate the importance of creating a future with diverse options for reaching carbon neutrality.