Toyota FCV Hits The Track At The 2014 Japanese Rally Championship

Don't let the rally stripes fool you, this otherwise race-ready Toyota FCV won't actually be competing at the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship. Instead, the highly anticipated fuel cell vehicle has been limited to checking out the course as a road safety service “zero car”.

Much like Indianapolis 500 pace cars, however, service cars at major rally events can't just look the part – there's got to be some substance there.

In the case of this Toyota FCV, the upgrades are more than skin deep: beneath the black, blue and silver graphics lurk custom mud flaps, lightweight alloy wheels, a race-approved roll cage, fire suppression system, upgraded brakes and a beefier suspension. Befitting its role as a safety and service car, the FCV has been outfitted with a rooftop light bar before entering the track.

The Shinshiro Rally (highlight of the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship season) runs from October 31st through November 2nd and track conditions weren't the best – storms in the area left large puddles of standing water on and around the track.

Nothing was going to rain on Toyota's parade this weekend, though, and those mud flaps came in handy once the FCV showed its stuff.

A VIDEO taken November 1st shows the rally striped FCV in action with light-bar flashing; you doubtless won't see another FCV in such vigorous motion 'til March of 2015 when the Toyota Mirai is expected to land in dealer showrooms. (via Le Blog Auto and InsideEVs)