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Electric

Toyota: Nürburgring lap a target for FT-Se, electric Porsche Cayman a rival

Toyota confirms the ‘Ring is a key metric for its upcoming battery electric two-seater

Published: 30 Oct 2023

‘Very important.’ That’s the language used by Toyota when describing one of the key battlegrounds for its incoming battery electric two-seat sportscar dubbed FT-Se. Yep, it’s the Nürburgring.

Outside the challenges of engineering a powerful electric sportscar with next-generation batteries, Toyota told TopGear.com that a good Nürburgring lap time was indeed, ‘very important’. The car’s chief engineer Fumihiko Hazama said: “The Nordschleife is our target for this vehicle. 

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“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what our target lap time is, but we’ll be taking a prototype to the Nürburgring in the future.”

Keeping the battery temps low while it’s out there on a high, however, will be a challenge. He points to the FT-Se’s massive air intakes up front, and to this ‘unique’ third-generation battery system. A system that powers a pair of electric motors – one at the front, one at the back – for all-wheel-drive. Toyota’s engineered a rear-bias because, says Hazama-san, some customers do indeed like to drift.

“Cooling the battery around the Nürburgring will be very difficult,” he said. “It’s hard driving around a long course which makes the battery temperature higher. Cooling will be important for this car’s performance. For its speed.”

Speaking of which, can he tell us just how much speed is involved? “We haven’t measured the acceleration, but my estimation about the 0-62mph is around three seconds. Top speed is estimated around 250kmh (155mph).”

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He won’t tell us what target weight the FT-Se is aiming for, only confirming that these new batteries are lighter than the current generation. The body will of course be composed of a mix of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre reinforced plastic. “The challenge is to make it light and stiff at the same time,” said Hazama-san.

Aiding the FT-Se on its electric adventure around the ‘Ring will be a fair bit of aero, too. The nature of the car’s powertrain – batteries mounted nice and low in the centre of the car – and a lack of associated ICE gubbins like an exhaust running along the bottom means the floor is flat. “You can fit a big diffuser. A lot of the downforce comes from the floor.”

And where will its rivals come from? “The next-generation Porsche Cayman will be an electric vehicle, so maybe that will be one of our targets,” Hazama-san noted. Porsche vs Toyota around the ‘Ring in a battle for electric honours? Very important indeed.

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