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Toyota FCV Rally Car Stars as “Zero Car” at Japanese Rally Championship

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The Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) has been turning heads all year long, since its January debut at the Detroit Auto Show. The hydrogen-powered vehicle, which emits only water vapor from its tailpipe, is all set to go into production in Japan next spring, and certain markets in Europe and the US in summer 2015. But before it heads to production, the prototype had a slight makeover for the recent Japanese Rally Championship. Meet the Toyota FCV rally car.

Toyota FCV rally car

The Toyota FCV rally car

In rally, as with all forms of car racing, a safety car of sorts (although in rally it’s called “zero car”) drives the circuit in advance of the race, checking for anything that could derail the race drivers. For the final stage of the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship, that zero car was the Toyota FCV rally car (quite fitting really, considering the FCV is a zero-emissions vehicle). In order to complete its safety lap of the 285 kilometer Shinshiro Rally, which was held in Aichi Prefecture on November 1st and 2nd, the FCV first needed some slight modifications.

Although no details were given by Toyota regarding the modification of the vehicle, there are certain things we know from looking at the pictures. Mud flaps and a paint job are the most obvious changes, while AutoBlog goes on to say that the FCV probably also received different rolling stock; and an interior with racing bucket seats and harnesses, a roll cage, radio equipment, and a tad more ground clearance.

Perhaps the Toyota FCV rally car is just the beginning—with automakers rolling out prototypes using various forms of alternative fuel, in the future we could potentially see races that feature only fuel cell vehicles. And that would definitely be something worth watching!

Gallery: Toyota FCV Rally Car