Toyota has unveiled a hydrogen-powered concept car, the Toyota GR H2 Racing, ahead of the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. This prototype race car utilizes a hybrid powertrain, with its internal-combustion engine running on hydrogen. Toyota has been actively exploring hydrogen engine technology as a means to reduce tailpipe emissions. The company has previously participated in Japan’s Super Taikyu Series with a hydrogen-powered race car based on the Corolla since 2021.
Hydrogen combustion emits no CO2, but it does produce harmful nitrogen oxides that require treatment, similar to modern diesel engines using urea-based selective catalytic reduction. However, a challenge with hydrogen technology is the limited availability of fueling stations.
Although Toyota has not provided specific details about the engine featured in the GR H2 Racing concept, the automaker is reportedly collaborating with Yamaha to develop a V-8 hydrogen engine. Yamaha is known for its development of the 4.8-liter V-10 engine used in the Lexus LFA supercar. It is speculated that a similar engine could find its way into a race car based on the GR H2 Racing concept.
Toyota has emphasized that the GR H2 Racing concept is not merely a design exercise but a development aimed at future racing competitions. The World Endurance Championship, which includes the prestigious Le Mans race, plans to introduce a class for hydrogen-powered cars, including fuel cell vehicles, by 2026. Organizers have committed to implementing Balance of Performance rules to ensure fair competition among hydrogen-powered cars.
Alpine, another participant in the World Endurance Championship, unveiled its own concept car featuring a hydrogen engine last year. Additionally, Porsche, a highly successful automaker at Le Mans, has confirmed its involvement in hydrogen engine development.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about hydrogen-powered race car
What is the Toyota GR H2 Racing concept?
The Toyota GR H2 Racing concept is a hydrogen-powered race car prototype unveiled by Toyota. It showcases the future of sustainable racing with its hybrid powertrain and internal-combustion engine fueled by hydrogen.
How does the hydrogen engine work?
The hydrogen engine in the GR H2 Racing concept utilizes hydrogen combustion, which emits zero CO2 emissions. However, nitrogen oxides are produced, requiring treatment with urea-based selective catalytic reduction, similar to modern diesel engines.
Is Toyota developing a specific engine for the GR H2 Racing concept?
While Toyota has not disclosed the exact engine details, it is known that they are working with Yamaha to develop a V-8 hydrogen engine. Yamaha has a track record of engine development, including the V-10 engine used in the Lexus LFA supercar.
What is the purpose of the GR H2 Racing concept?
The GR H2 Racing concept is not just a design exercise; it is developed with future competition in mind. It serves as a preview for Toyota’s potential participation in the World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans race, which plans to introduce a class for hydrogen-powered cars in 2026.
Are other automakers exploring hydrogen engine technology?
Yes, other automakers are also investigating hydrogen engine technology. Alpine, a participant in the World Endurance Championship, unveiled its own concept car with a hydrogen engine, and Porsche, known for its success at Le Mans, has confirmed its involvement in hydrogen engine development.
More about hydrogen-powered race car
- Toyota Newsroom: Toyota GR H2 Racing Concept: Official news release from Toyota about the GR H2 Racing concept.
- World Endurance Championship: Official website of the World Endurance Championship, the motorsport series that includes the Le Mans race.
- Alpine Motorsport: Alpine’s official website, providing information about their involvement in motorsports, including the World Endurance Championship.
- Porsche Motorsport: Porsche’s official motorsport page, detailing their participation and developments in motorsports, including Le Mans.