This is the Toyota Le Mans prototype pulling out of the pits in hybrid mode before then exploding with a mighty V8 roar. It might sound like something out of Star Wars but it's the future of racing.
The Toyota TS030 has a 3.4-liter V8 engine, which starts in all-electric mode, you know, like a Prius. It's how F1 cars are possibly going to run electric-only in the pits in the future.
F1 cars already use a battery-powered hybrid system called KERS or Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The main goal for F1 teams and now Toyota is to save up the huge amount of energy that's dissipated during braking, which is then released in a boost of electric power coming out of the turns.
For race organizers, the goal is to reduce fuel consumption while still developing technologies that will trickle down to automakers who are increasingly concerned about high gas mileage and low air pollution.
At the end of the day, we have a race car that is more high tech than ever and more relevant to the cars you buy at a dealership. Maybe it could even do the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.
(Hat tip to Ben!)