In a bizarre convergence of hypermiling and motor racing, Toyota has achieved the dubious honour of logging the slowest lap time around Germany's legendary Nurburgring Nordschliefe circuit.
The time? A slug-like 20 minute, 59-second lap, recorded by one of its Prius plug-in hybrids.
But Toyota's goal wasn't speed, it was efficiency. Starting with a fully-charged battery and wearing low-resistance tyres, the Prius plug-in was able to drive all 20.8 kilometres of the Nurburgring using just 75 millilitres of petrol.
That's an average fuel economy figure of around 0.36 l/100km, and it wasn't achieved at a painstaking crawl either. The Nurburgring requires all cars to achieve an average speed of 60km/h, and the Prius complied.
Driving one of the most fearsome circuits on the planet is an unusual way to highlight the efficiency of a car, but according to motoring journalist Joe Clifford, who drove the run, the Prius' engine only fired up during the long ascent towards the iconic Karussel corner.
Unlike the lap time wars being played out among the world's supercars (of which the Porsche 918 Spider is currently winning, with its 6:57 lap), we doubt other manufacturers will be jostling to beat Toyota's efficiency record anytime soon.
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