The next-generation Prius will share parts with an unlikely vehicle: Toyota’s very own TS040 Le Mans racer.
Because of the new FIA regulations, the World Endurance Championship in which the TS040 races now has a big emphasis on fuel economy.
Toyota re-engineered its car for the 2014 season to cut fuel consumption by 25 percent and, in the process, used parts from the next-generation Prius, like microchips and microcontrollers.
The Prius is the most famous hybrid nameplate in the world, so it’s no surprise Toyota is using information it has already learned from the production car to build a fuel-efficient, hybrid racecar. And the company also plans on making that learning experience a two-way street: According to Autonews, the Toyota racing team has about a dozen hybrid engineers rotating on six-month stints to take lessons learned at the track back to the production car tech center in Toyota City.
One of these technologies is the four-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain that was developed for the TS040, which may very likely see applications in the next-generation Prius. We look forward to it here at Route 44 Toyota!