Lexus Australia Sponsors World’s First Hybrid-Only Race

Lexus CT 200h Race in Australia

As part of their CT 200h launch, Lexus Australia will be sponsoring the Celebrity Challenge race during the 2011 F1 Australian Grand Prix:

The Lexus CT 200h Celebrity Challenge will feature 27 all-new Lexus CT 200h hybrids racing around Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit this March.

Significantly, the Celebrity Challenge will be the first hybrid-only race staged globally and will mark the introduction of the all-new compact luxury hybrid to the Australian luxury market.

The hybrid-only race also coincides with the reintroduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) to Formula 1™ race vehicles.

KERS, like in a hybrid vehicle, captures energy and stores it for use later in the race to boost engine power.

In a new initiative, made possible by the Lexus CT 200h, two celebrities will have the opportunity to win – one for outright position and the other for the Le Mans-inspired “index of efficiency” concept, by measuring fuel use during the race.

Carsguide also has an article on this event, and it has a couple interesting quotes:

We want to show that hybrids can be sporty and they can be fun. This is a world first,” says Lexus executive, Peter Evans. “We also think this is the single biggest bang-for-your-buck opportunity to launch a new car in Australia. It’s an amazing platform with 4.6 million people at the peak television viewing and 310,000 spectators over four days.”

Evans avoids discussing the potential on-track carnage with the cars but promises a field with far more genuine celebrities than recent AGP celebrity contests.

“Our target is to try and get a new group. Not so much new faces, but different faces. So not someone like Guy Leech,” he says.

This is a huge event for Lexus Australia, and sounds like a blast — can’t wait to see some racing footage.

Here’s a couple more photos with actress Kelly Landry, one of the celebrity drivers taking part in the race:

Lexus CT 200h Racing in Australia with Kelly Landry
Lexus CT 200h Racing in Australia with Kelly Landry

[Source: Lexus Australia & Carsguide] (Thanks Luke!)