Rivalry has always been fierce between Britain’s home nations and Toyota is giving the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish the chance for more partisan points scoring by hosting its own Nations Challenge.
In this case, winning will have nothing to do with scoring goals, landing tries, or registering quickest times. Instead, the four teams will be tasked with achieving the lowest energy use – a combination of fuel economy and electric power consumption – driving a Toyota hybrid on the first Brighton to London Future Car Challenge.
Each nation will be represented by two two-person teams, driving identical Auris HSD models, the new full hybrid hatchback that’s built in Britain at Toyota’s Burnaston factory. Given the Auris hybrid’s official combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 70.6mpg, the drivers can expect to complete the run on well under a gallon of fuel. The cars will be making a colourful splash on the 60-mile route, being decked out in patriotic national flag liveries.
More than just national pride is at stake – the winners will be presented with a trophy to mark their challenge success. The competition is being held within – but separate from – the Royal Automobile Club’s inaugural future car challenge, which showcases new engine technologies for cleaner, more fuel-efficient motoring. Taking place on 6 November, the day before the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the event will be contested by current and prototype hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles, as well cars powered by ultra-efficient petrol and diesel engines.
Alongside the Auris HSD Nations Challenge cars, Toyota is entering three Prius – representing each generation of the world’s most popular hybrid – and the new Prius Plug-in, marking the next stage in its global development of hybrid powertrains.
A ninth Auris HSD will be piloted by UK Electric Land Speed Record Holder Don Wales, and decked out in the colours of the Union Flag to emphasise the car’s “built in Britain” quality.
More details about the RAC Future Car Challenge can be found at the official event web site at www.futurecarchallenge.com.