The 37-year-old Latvala was named among six riders for the ST-Q Class 32 GR Corolla H2 concept from Rookie Racing in the Super Taikyu Blue Ribbon Competition on June 4-5.

Finn will share the driver’s responsibilities with Toyota President Akio Toyoda (listed under his common pseudonym “Marisa”). Regulars of SUPER GT Hiroaki Ishiura, Masahira Sasaki, Yasuhira Ogura and another person from the world on the rally, Japanese champion Narihika Katsuta (father of current Toyota WRC racer Takamoto).

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Despite his lack of experience in wheel racing, Latvala said he would like to try Toyota’s hydrogen car for himself after hearing about it from fellow Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe colleagues Kamui Kabayashi, who drove the car during his debut at last year’s Fuji 24 Hours, and Kazuki Nakadima.

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

“I agree that sound is one of the best parts of motorsport. And I heard from Kamui Kabayashi and Kazuki Nakadima that the feeling of driving a car is the same as a car with a petrol engine. I’m very interested in their reviews. , so I wanted to check it out for myself and I will be able to drive this car.

“Trying carbon-neutral activities on my own, I would like to share them with the whole world, especially in Europe. I want to test the potential of this technology for rally cars. I am happy to be able to come to Japan sooner than that. Rally in Japan.

Toyota has been working to improve the performance of the GR Corolla H2 concept – which uses a redesigned internal combustion engine instead of fuel cells – since the car debuted 12 months ago, increasing both power and time needed to replenish hydrogen tanks. .

The brand said last year that it had reached parity in horsepower with the GR Yaris petrol engine on which the hydrogen unit is based, while refueling time was reduced from 4 m30 s with the debut car to just 1 30 s.

In the last race of Super Taikyu, this year’s five-hour opening of the season in Suzuka in March, Corolla took 43rd place in the overall standings and passed a total of 97 laps in the hands of Sasaki, Toyoda, Ishiura and Oguri, lagging behind the winning team by 35 laps Daishin Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

Sasaki spent the best lap of the car in the qualifying for 2 m26,012 s, about 26 seconds from the pace of the best runners in the top class ST-X for GT3 runners, but ahead of each car in the lowest category ST-5.

Rookie Racing has a second entry in the ST-Q class for technology that does not comply with specific technical regulations, the new generation GR86 using synthetic fuel derived from biomass.

SUPER GT champion Yuhi Sekiguti has been added to the drivers lineup by joining another member of the Toyota GT500 stable, Kazuya Asima, Naoi Gamu, Daisuke Toyoda (son of Akio) and Ruta Ukai.

At Suzuka the car took 28th place overall, 17 laps ahead of the Nissan winner, with a best qualifying time of 2 min 19.620 seconds thanks to the usual Mercedes SUPER GT Gamma.

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