With another 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the history books, it is time to look to the future, again. A unique, hydrogen-powered racer from Green GT will make its 2012 track debut. Is this the future of Le Mans?
As part of an attempt to “green” its image, the world’s premier endurance racing event has started a new tradition called “Le Mans ver le future,” or, Le Mans Into the Future. It is a showcase for would-be, could-be future Le Mans racers, and Green GT was there this year with its Twenty-4 300kw electric racing prototype. There’s even some nice racing footage (posted below) from the car included with the press released. For next year though, they will be ditching the batteries in favor of a hydrogen fueling setup.
Called the LMP H2, Green GT will use an in-house hydrogen fuel station to provide 300kw (or more) of power to their Le Mans racer. I imagine that one of the advantages of going hydrogen power versus batteries is weight and power density. 150 grams of hydrogen can replace one liter of fuel according to Green GT, which means their 12kg high pressure storage tanks will displace about 80 liters of racing fuel, or about 21 us gallons. Pit stops play a major role in endurance racing, and the less refueling you have to do, the more laps you can complete.
Consider also the fact that the winning Audi Diesel racer from last weekend’s Le Mans only had a 13 gallon fuel tank, and it would appear that the Green GT LMP H2 may have a significant endurance advantage. Factor the 400 horsepower+ and tons ‘o’ torque on tap from its electric motors, and the LMP H2 is shaping up to be a serious contender for future Le Mans races. All of that that only matters if it works, and as promising as hydrogen-powered endurance racing sounds, proving one’s self on the race track with such a new technology is a monumental undertaking. Do they have the gusto to do it?
I certainly hope so. A new age of motorsports is dawning, and it looks like hydrogen may have a place at the table after all.
Source: Green GT
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.