The Lexus GS 450h, the world’s first rear-wheel drive hybrid power sports saloon, made its motor racing debut in Japan’s only 24-hour race last month.

The high-performance hybrid shone at the Tokachi International Speedway in Hokkaido (in northern Japan) finishing fourth in its production car class and 17th overall in a field of 33.

The gruelling, twice around the clock event allowed Lexus engineers to collect data on the potential of hybrid systems in motor sports, especially relevant as such systems are being discussed for imminent introduction to Formula 1.

The racing GS 450h added to hybrid motor sport history, joining the Toyota Prius which was the first, and remains the only hybrid car to start and finish an FIA sanctioned event, the 5,000mile Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally in 2002.

TOKACHI 24-HOUR LEXUS GS 450h SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle (racecar) name: Denso Lexus GS450h

Base vehicle: Lexus GS450h (DAA-GWS191-BEXQH)

Entry Class: "Production-1" Class (hybrids and other environmentally considerate vehicles)
Note: The entry vehicle is also recognised as a 2006 Super Taikyu Series ST-1 Class (3,501cc or higher) vehicle exceptionally approved by the Super Taikyu Organization (STO).

Maximum engine output: 292 bhp @ 400rpm

Maximum motor output: 197 bhp

Maximum output of overall hybrid system: 340 bhp

Vehicle weight: 1,550kg or higher (weight specified by STO for the Super Taikyu Series)

Main modifications for racing:
– Front and rear suspension
– Tyres and wheels
– Safety roll cage
– Safety fuel tank
– Differential (mechanical LSD)
– Brake system
– Aerodynamic parts, reduced vehicle weight, etc.