Hybrid To Take To Track At Lowe’s
NASCAR’s thundering herd of carbureted V-8s will get a lesson in hybrid technology at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next month.
A Toyota Camry Hybrid will become the first such vehicle to serve as “official” pace car for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when it leads the 43-car field to the green flag for the 50th edition of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24.
“Toyota is the leading seller of hybrids in the U.S. with more than a million on the road, so it’s appropriate the Camry Hybrid is the first to pace a NASCAR race from start to finish,” said Ed Laukes, corporate motorsports marketing manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “It’s a tribute to the torque and other performance characteristics of the Camry Hybrid that allows it to meet NASCAR’s requirements for pacing the longest race of the season.”
Built at the Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky., the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a 187- horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder vehicle that gets an EPA estimated combined average of 33 miles per gallon. Before being approved to serve as pace car for the May race, the Camry Hybrid had to pass a NASCAR-mandated performance test. In order to qualify as a pace car, a vehicle is required to reach speeds close to 100 mph from a stand-by position near the exit of pit road to the time it reaches the exit of Turn 2, a distance of approximately one-quarter-mile.
In addition to the Coca-Cola 600 and the Oct. 17 race at LMS, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as “official” pace car at Infineon Raceway (June 21), Chicagoland Speedway (July 11), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 9) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 25).
This season, Toyota drivers have combined for seven wins, 26 top-five finishes and 50 top-10 results across NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers. Toyota directly employs more than 34,000 people in the United States and sold more than 2.2 million vehicles in 2008.