History was made on April 25 as the official pace car took its place to start the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. For the first time ever, the pace car was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, running on hydrogen and emitting only water. The Toyota Mirai was given the honor.
“Having a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pace the Toyota Owners 400 is a historic moment for both Toyota and NASCAR and we’re proud it’s the Toyota Mirai,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance, and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “Bringing the Mirai to Richmond to pace this important race is another way for Toyota to showcase our innovation and environmental leadership.”
Toyota showed its leadership in 2009 as well when the Camry Hybrid became the first vehicle with a hybrid powertrain to pace a full NASCAR race.
For the Toyota Owners 400 at the Richmond International Raceway, the Mirai was officially approved to pace the race just two days before the race. It is the perfect vehicle for the task as one tank of hydrogen can carry the Mirai for 300 of the race’s 400 miles and a fill-up only takes five minutes.