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NASCAR embraces green cars

Efforts to turn motor racing green are continuing at a rapid pace through innovations in Formula 1, the Michelin Green X Challenge at the American Le Mans and now it is NASCAR's turn to join the green car race. Toyota and Lowe's Motor Speedway unveiled an environmentally friendly Toyota Camry Hybrid that will serve as the pace car for the Coca-Cola 600 which takes place on May 24. The sport is hardly renowned for embracing green technology - in fact it only made the switch to unleaded fuel in 2008. So why has it suddenly embraced hybrid cars? According to Ed Laukes, Toyota's corporate manager of motorsports marketing, it is a demonstration of performance - taking a car that literally anyone can buy and passing the performance characteristics necessary to appear in NASCAR. In order to earn its spot as a pace car, the Camry Hybrid had to pass a NASCAR performance test in which it is required to reach speeds close to 100mph from a stand-by position near the exit of the pit road to the time it reaches the exit of turn two - a distance of around a quarter of a mile. It's not the first time that hybrid cars have appeared as pace cars as the Ford Fusion Hybrid was used in last season's Sprint Cup Series finale. However, it was quickly dropped as it did not meet the performance standards. The Toyota Camry Hybrid by contrast will be used throughout the race and will also be used at five more races later in the season at Infineon Raceway; in Charlotte; in Watkins Glen in New York; at Martinsville in Virginia; and the Chicagoland Speedway.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green cars, Hybrid cars, Toyota

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