Toyota’s Motor Triathlon Race Car (MTRC) fuel cell concept made its U.S. debut at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. The concept vehicle, which made its world premier earlier at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, was designed and built by Toyota’s European design studio ED2.
The MTRC is showcased in Gran Turismo 4, the latest version of the popular Sony Playstation game developed by Sony Computer Entertainment and Polyphony Digital.
"We have taken the opportunity of extracting the technology from a futuristic car, and reproducing it in a virtual world," stated Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo. "This has been a very exciting experience for our team, who are always curious about new technology."
The two-seater concept demonstrates three strengths of the Toyota Brand: its extensive motor sports involvement, four-wheel drive heritage and its commitment to advanced and eco-friendly technology.
The ED2 design studio reveals the motor sports influence in the exterior styling of the MTRC. The concept is reminiscent of an open-wheeled car in which the whole body contributes to the control of airflows, ensuring maximum stability and aerodynamic efficiency.
The MTRC was conceived to compete in three different environments: an off-road course, a smooth and high-grip racetrack and a narrow city street circuit, as if in a "triathlon."
The vehicle uses an electronically-controlled suspension system that constantly monitors the road conditions, raises the ride height and adjusts the settings according to its environment. Intelligent tires also adapt to the road conditions through built-in sensors, ensuring the appropriate, maximum grip for the surface.
The wheels have their own electric motors that are powered by the Toyota fuel cell stack. As a result, the MTRC is a zero emissions vehicle.
In addition, the car adopts the innovative ’Mixed Reality’ technology developed by Denso and Canon. The driver and passengers wear a special helmet that transmits information similar to a Heads Up Display (HUD). While a HUD system conveys factual information, such as temperature or speed, Mixed Reality helps the driver to anticipate upcoming road conditions.
The Mixed Reality system provides a constant flow of information, such as road temperature, tire status, the presence of snow or ice, and at the same time, interacts with the car’s other systems to optimize performance. This advanced technology helps the driver navigate and control the car more safely and accurately.