Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Is Toyota Racing an AWD Prius Rally Car at Olympus Rally?

 

Toyota Prius AWD Rally Car

We at Subcompact Culture are rally fans. We participate in TSD rally, we go to stage rally, and have always had a thing for the WRC. This weekend is the 2020 Olyumps Rally in Washington. While looking at the entry list something caught my eye. Specifically, car #871 driven by racer Jamie Bestwick. The entry? A 2020 Toyota Prius—in the NA4WD class. Could this be an AWD Prius Rally Car?

As you may know, Toyota sells the Prius AWD-e these days. In fact, the photo above is from when I went to a regional Toyota event where we got to drive the vehicle. Toyota was adamant that the majority of Prius vehicles sold in the Pacific Northwest would be the AWD model. It has 0.2" of extra ground clearance, and uses an electric motor at the back to drive the rear wheels up to speeds of 43 MPH. At the time, several of us joked about rallying the Prius, but apparently, this is going to be a thing. 

Despite my best efforts, I wasn't able to find any info about this alleged rally car. Not via Toyota's media site, not on Jamie Bestwick's social media, nowhere. Being that it's going to be piloted by Bestwick (who also has driven a road-race-prepped Yaris as well as a vintage Toyota Corolla, among others), would suggest Toyota has likely constructed an AWD hybrid Prius rally car to debut at Olympus.

Not The First Rally Hybrid ... Sorta 

In the past, Honda has campaigned a FWD Honda CR-Z rally car, however, apparently, the electrics were removed from that vehicle for safety purposes. So who knows what we'll see, but I would bet Toyota will put out a press release about this vehicle either shortly before the race or afterward, depending on how the Prius finishes. 

We've reached out to Toyota's PR team to get clarification and will report back anything we hear. 

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