Lexus will add a dash of green to an upcoming race at Germany’s so-called Green Hell with an endurance racer based on the CT200h hybrid. The modified hatchback will enter the six-hour Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy at the Nürburgring on Saturday, May 14.
The race car uses the same hybrid drive system as a road-going CT200h, which means it can save fuel by turning off its gasoline engine when braking for turns, and receive a boost from its electric motor when accelerating. Lexus says the car will use less fuel and produce fewer toxic emissions than other race cars, but we suspect this is primarily a marketing push.
The stock CT’s 1.8-liter engine is thrifty but a bit feeble, so it has been replaced with a 2.4-liter unit of undisclosed output. Otherwise, the car is essentially the same hybrid that you can buy in any Lexus dealership, although it wears new front aerodynamic add-ons and an abundance of sponsorship decals, and the swanky interior has been ditched in favor of a racing seat and roll cage.
The CT was prepared by Gazoo Racing (also responsible for building prior Toyota/Lexus race cars), and the team has three drivers lined up to take shifts at the wheel. Nearly 200 cars are expected to enter Saturday’s endurance race. A hybrid hatchback is a bit of a comedown for Lexus, given that the brand sent a Lexus LFA supercar to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring event last year. It isn’t, however, the first hybrid to hit the ‘Ring, as Lexus raced an RX400h SUV there in 2005.