When the Toyota Prius was first produced in 1997, petrolheads snarked at the first-ever mass-produced hybrid car. They poked fun at its lethargic powertrain and its eccentric looks. Little did these guys know that this car would be instrumental to Toyota’s dominance in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance races.
The Japanese carmaker has won every race since 2018. And in those wins, Toyota has fielded the TS050 and the GR010. Both vehicles employ hybrid power units that the company has perfected, thanks to the car that was ridiculed by many.
And so, Toyota Gazoo Racing is honoring the roots of its Le Mans-winning hybrid powertrains with the Prius 24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition.
The model’s name is a mouthful, and so are the upgrades that Gazoo Racing has done to the car. This special Prius features an exclusive aero kit. This includes side skirts, canards, a large rear wing, and a rear diffuser. Up front, it has a lightweight carbon-fiber hood. Plus, the car dons a special finish and body graphics, complete with GR badges.
It is also wider, thanks to wide-track suspension and exclusive 18-inch aerodynamic wheels wrapped in 235/50 rubber. Completing the upgrades are additional multibeam headlamps for better illumination at night.
The special car will be on display at the “Japan. Endless Discovery” exhibit of the Japan National Tourism Organization. Toyota and Mazda, the only Japanese carmakers to ever score wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, are participating in the exhibit.
No information has been shared whether the special car will be sold to customers. So…who’s laughing now?