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Toyota sets Nurburgring record... for fuel economy

Wed, 16 Jul 2014

WHATEVER else you might say about Toyota, it seems the brand has a sense of humour.

Driving enthusiasts will hand their (petrol)heads in shame after Toyota completed the 12.9-mile German track at an average of 698mpg.

The embarrassingly pedestrian time of 20 minutes and 59 seconds was set by motor journalist and Japanese car expert Joe Clifford, and since Toyota is the first to shame itself with a fuel economy run at the heart of performance car testing, it automatically sets a new efficiency record.

The 21-minute time is more than three times slower than laps recently set by modified versions of the Seat Leon Cupra 280 and the Renaultsport Megane 275.

Clifford was driving a Prius Plug-in hybrid, whose electric-only range is more than enough to complete the circuit without using the petrol engine. But unfortunately for the attempt, a long ascent on the circuit strained the batteries too much and the engine cut in, using five tablespoons of unleaded.

He said: “We used no special tricks for this test. We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tyres and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nürburgring.

“Although the 12.9-mile distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1,000 feet. In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while.

“Without that, we think we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9mpg readout – the highest figure the display can show.”

The keen-eyed will notice body modifications on the Prius, but Toyota says these are just styling add-ons sourced from the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) catalogue.

By Press Association reporter