In an unexpected move, Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai will pace a NASCAR race.

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle will pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway this coming Saturday night, April 25.

The Mirai four-door, mid-size sedan will lead the Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag.

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“Having a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pace the Toyota Owners 400 is a historic moment for both Toyota and NASCAR and we’re proud it’s the Toyota Mirai,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “Bringing the Mirai to Richmond to pace this important race is another way for Toyota to showcase our innovation and environmental leadership.”

According to Toyota, the Mirai offers the performance needed to pace the 43-car NASCAR field at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) while using no gasoline and emitting nothing but water vapor. The Mirai was tested and approved by NASCAR to pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race after a test session at RIR April 23.


The fuel cell electric vehicle is powered by hydrogen, refuels in about five minutes and travels up to 300 miles on a full tank.

The Mirai will be available to buyers in California later this year.

This is not the first time Toyota uses a green car to pace a race; the Toyota Camry Hybrid was the first hybrid vehicle to pace a full NASCAR race when the hybrid vehicle was used for the Coca Cola 600 in May 2009.