Image: Gazoo Racing, via Autoblog
One of my press fleet cars for this week is Lexus’ new CT 200h hybrid. After spending a few days behind the wheel, I understand the car’s popularity. It’s well-appointed, supremely comfortable and not at all a bad choice for urban driving. Despite what Lexus’ ads would have you believe, it’s in no way, shape or form a sports car. Even in “Sport” mode, which calls up a tachometer instead of a power monitor and lights the dash in red, acceleration is best described as “leisurely”. The steering, however, is nicely weighted and the CT 200h is fairly nimble in the twisties. I’d even consider one if I had the type of commute I used to (110 miles a day in rush hour traffic), but I definitely wouldn’t consider building a race car for next year’s One Lap of America from a CT 200h.
That didn’t stop Gazoo Racing from building a CT 200h to run in last weekend’s six hour Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy at Germany’s Nürburgring. Built to compete in the S4 class, the Gazoo Racing CT 200h had a few minor improvements done to make it more competitive: first, the stock car’s 1.8 liter engine was yanked out, replaced by a higher horsepower 2.4 liter variant. The electric motor, controller and batteries were left alone, and the car did indeed run as a parallel hybrid. At start up and under regenerative braking, the car’s engine isn’t used, preserving fuel and reducing overall tailpipe emissions. There’s no word on how the CT 200h did overall, but I promise an update as soon as I can find the results.