Toyota unveils GR H2 Racing Concept at Circuit de la SartheJune 14, 2023
In 2026, the 24 Hours of Lemans will start permitting hydrogen race cars to participate.
Despite low hydrogen passenger vehicle sales, Toyota is pushing forward with the technology, and has unveiled its latest GR H2 Racing Concept as a part of that effort, showing off the vehicle at the Circuit de la Sarthe in western France just before the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans.
They didn’t release any of the GR H2 Racing Concept’s technical specs at the time of the unveiling. The Toyota hydrogen engine prototype was essentially announced by name, without any additional information. What is known is that it is 5,100 millimeters long and 2,050 millimeters wide. As such, it is both longer and wider than the LMP1-H Le Mans Prototype from Toyota, though only slightly. That latter design’s prototype is 4,650 millimeters long and 1,900 millimeters wide.
The automaker did confirm that the race car will be powered by a combination hydrogen engine and hybrid system. That said, everything else under the hood has remained in the dark.
Aside from technical specs, it is known that Toyota will be racing a hydrogen powered vehicle at the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans. This decision was made after the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) confirmed that H2 combustion and fuel cell race cars would both be permitted at that year’s event. The ACO has predicted that all competing cars will feature some form of H2 powertrain by the close of this decade.
Toyota firmly believes in the performance of its GR H2 Racing Concept and hydrogen cars in general.
“Le Mans is a place we can push boundaries and realize the future. My goal is to reach carbon neutrality without compromising the speed or excitement of racing,” said Akio Toyota at the debut of the GR H2 Racing Concept car.
“I wouldn’t invest in this technology if I didn’t think we could win with it… Hydrogen is not just about zero emissions but a truly exciting technology: it delivers sound, torque, and dynamics. It is all of these things.”
The GR H2 Racing Concept will be developed as a full race car for L3 Mans, as a part of a collaboration between the automaker’s Higashi Fuji research facility and its Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe in Cologne.
Hydrogen FAQ’s – Toyota Hydrogen Race Car
1. What is the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an annual endurance race where teams of drivers compete for 24 straight hours. The goal is to travel the farthest distance within that time period. The race takes place on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a course that’s approximately 8.5 miles long.
2. When was the first Le Mans race held?
The first Le Mans race was held in 1923.
3. What is Toyota’s GR H2 Racing Concept?
Toyota’s GR H2 Racing Concept is a hydrogen-powered race car. Although the specific technical details have not been released yet, we know the car will be powered by a combination of a hydrogen engine and a hybrid system.
4. When will hydrogen cars be permitted at the Le Mans race?
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, confirmed that hydrogen combustion and fuel cell race cars will be permitted at the event from 2026 onwards.
5. Is Toyota planning to participate in the Le Mans with a hydrogen-powered vehicle?
Yes, Toyota plans to race a hydrogen-powered vehicle at the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans.
6. Has Toyota used hydrogen cars in any other races?
Yes, Toyota has been using a Corolla with a hydrogen engine in the Super Taikyu series.
7. Who is developing the GR H2 Racing Concept?
The development of the GR H2 Racing Concept into a full race car is being carried out through collaboration between Toyota’s Higashi Fuji research facility and Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe.
8. What are Toyota’s goals with hydrogen cars?
Toyota believes in the performance of their hydrogen cars and aims to reach carbon neutrality without compromising racing speed and excitement.
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