Are we entering the era of the eco-friendly racing car? French outfit GreenGT could be spearheading the push, with the announcement its new H2 hydrogen racing car has completed its first successful racing laps testing at the Magny-Cours circuit in France. The wacky-looking hydrogen hybrid racing car will compete in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, filling the ‘experimental competitor’ pit garage vacated by the radical-looking 2012 Nissan DeltaWing.
Jean-François Weber, Managing Director and Green GT’s Head of R&D, said: ‘We have gained a lot of information during these three driving sessions, especially concerning fuel cell stability and aerodynamic balance. We can now go back to our workshops to upgrade the lab version of the GreenGT H2 to the race version and continue our development programme’.
GreenGT H2: the specs
Under the H2’s crazy bodywork, you’ll find a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. The H2 is the world’s first racing car to use a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain – unlike Aston Martin’s hydrogen Rapide, the H2 uses its hydrogen to make electricity, rather than power a piston engine. GreenGT claims the H2’s electric motors develop a combined output of 340kW, or 450bhp. However, an even more potent 400kW (530bhp) powertrain is also under development. GreenGT estimate the car will be good for a top speed of 186mph, and boast a 40-minute high-speed running time.
Of course, the on-board hydrogen has to be stored at extreme pressure in the car. To allow the car to compete safely in Le Mans racing, GreenGT’s hydrogen tanks are said to be ten times stronger than the official FIA sanctions declare necessary for regular gasoline fuel tanks. GreenGT went down the hydrogen route after being dissatisfied with the racing range offered by lithium-ion battery packs, used in everything from the Renault Twizy to Tesla Model S.
With Aston Martin’s hydrogen Rapide set to be the first zero-emission car to lap the Nurburgring in an official FIA race event, and GreenGT attempting to revolutionise Le Mans, are we about to enter a new era of green, eco-conscious endurance motorsport?
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