The 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon kicked off on January 15. At the Toyota Technocraft TRD booth, Apr’s system for the GT300 class of Super GT has been announced, and the all-new Toyota Prius GT (ZVW50), which will be participating this season, was also unveiled.
The ZVW30 Prius, which had been actively participating for four seasons since 2012 and was defeated last year, will no longer be participating this time. However, Toyota developed a model based on the all-new Prius, which has been released to the market last month. Furthermore, Toyota also revealed that they will be participating with two machines this year.
These machines are mounted with hybrid system. As for its driving system, it has adopted a mid-ship engine layout this time. The previous generation Prius had the same chassis as the Corolla Axio GT, which participated in the Super GT from 2009 to 2011. However, there have been changes in the chassis of the all-new Prius and it has corresponded with the drivers’ request, thereby producing a steady improvement. As for its body works, the all-new Prius has a unique appearance and at the same time, it has a low balance and intricate, minute details.
As for the much-awaited driver lineup, Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama will continue to race as a pair and will drive the #31 car. The drivers for #30 will be Kota Sasaki, who joined last year’s race as a wild card entry, and new driver Hiroaki Nagai, who’s been actively participating in the Super Taikyu Series and the like.
Furthermore, the two cars have different tire manufacturers; #31 will still be outfitted with Bridgestone tires. The #30 will be adopting Yokohama tires, a brand with undoubtedly long experience in the tire industry. It is an unusual circumstance that both are from the same team and has the same machine models, but have different tire manufacturers.
Team Manager Hiroto Kaneso of Apr commented, “I think the Prius is a cutting-edge innovation as a Toyota car and as a Japanese product. We fully maximized the strength of ‘Japan manufacturing,’ and we wanted to take on the challenge of competing against Europe’s super cars.”
Saga, who participated with the #31 but was not able to achieve the champion title despite having two wins, also expressed his enthusiasm. “I was also there during the development of the chassis’s new form, and I think it achieved further progress. I’m proud to say that it’s the strongest machine in the history of Apr.” His partner Nakayama also positively stated, “I have been joining the race with Prius GT cars since before, thus I could feel its evolution every year; I think that its fighting power has improved a lot this year. We’ll work hard to be the champion this time.”
Furthermore, this all-new Prius is exhibited at the Toyota Technocraft TRD booth at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon held in the North Hall of Makuhari Messe.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)