Latvala enters next month’s Fuji 24 Hours

Toyota's team principal is intirigued by the hybrid Toyota Corolla he will drive


Toyota’s World Rally Championship team principal Jari-Matti Latvala will contest next month’s Fuji 24 Hours behind the wheel of a hydrogen-powered Corolla.

Latvala will team up with Japan Rally champion Norihiko Katsuta and Super GT and Super Formula competitor Yuhi Sekiguchi as one-off drivers in a six-driver entry.

The trio will join ORC Rookie team-mates Hiroaki Ishiura, Yasuhiro Ogura, Masahiro Sasaki and Toyota president Akio Toyoya, who is competing under the pseudonym ‘Morizo’.

The Fuji 24 Hours, taking place on the weekend of June 3-5, is the second round of Japan’s Super Taikyu Series, a Pro-Am endurance series for commercially available GT and touring cars as well as minimally modified production cars from the country’s domestic market.


The Corolla H2 Concept which Latvala will drive made its debut last year and is powered by a 1.6-liter inline three-cylinder combustion engine, with hydrogen tanks replacing a standard fuel cell.

Latvala said that Toyota’s drive for innovating alternative mobility options was one of the reasons why he wanted to contest the 24 Hours.

“When I saw the live video of a Super Taikyu 24-hour race in Fuji during last year’s Rally Portugal, I thought that Toyota’s new approach to carbon neutrality was simply amazing,” said Latvala.

“I agree that sound is one of the best parts of motorsports. And I heard from [Toyota World Endurance Championship team principal] Kamui Kobayashi and [TGR Europe Vice Chairman] Kazuki Nakajima that the feeling of driving the car is the same as a gasoline engine car.

“I was really interested in their feedback so I wanted to check it for myself, and I will have the chance to drive this car. Having experienced firsthand the activities toward carbon neutrality, I would like to share them with the world, especially in Europe.”

Words:Stephen Brunsdon