Toyota’s Game-Changer: GR H2 Racing Concept Redefines Endurance Racing at Le Mans with Hydrogen Power

  • Toyota unveils the GR H2 Racing Concept, a hydrogen-powered endurance race car, showcasing their commitment to cutting-edge technology and pushing the boundaries of motorsport innovation.
  • The GR H2 Racing Concept signifies Toyota’s future plans to compete in the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans with a hydrogen car, as the race organizers have allowed hydrogen-combustion and hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles, highlighting the growing prominence of hydrogen power in the automotive industry.

Toyota has recently been very busy, showing a number of intriguing concept cars previewing future models and technology (see related links below). The GR H2 Racing Concept, presented today at the Circuit de la Sarthe in western France ahead of this weekend’s 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans, is the conclusion of that activity. Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda introduced the hydrogen-powered endurance race car idea.

The manufacturer did not provide technical details on the hydrogen engine prototype, simply stating that it measures 5,100 mm long and 2,050 mm wide. It is so slightly longer and broader than Toyota’s LMP1-H Le Mans Prototype, which measures 4,650 mm in length and 1,900 mm in width. The Japanese company also says that the race car idea is powered by a hybrid system and a hydrogen engine, but this is practically all we know about what’s going on underneath the skin.

We do know that Toyota will race a hydrogen car in the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans after the competition’s organisers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), decided to allow both hydrogen-combustion and hydrogen-fuel-cell racers. ACO forecasts that by the end of the decade, all cars in the competition will have some form of hydrogen powerplant.

“Le Mans is a place where we can test limits and envision the future.” My goal is to achieve carbon neutrality while maintaining the pace and excitement of racing. I wouldn’t invest in this technology unless I believed we could win with it… Hydrogen is a genuinely fascinating technology that provides sound, torque, and dynamics in addition to zero emissions. “It’s all of these things,” Akio Toyota stated during the concept car’s unveiling.

Since the third round of the 2021 season, Toyota has used a hydrogen-powered Corolla in the Super Taikyu Series. In turn, Toyota’s development department in Higashi Fuji and Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe in Cologne will collaborate to develop the GR H2 Racing Concept into a full-fledged Le Mans race car. The latter is the organisation in charge of the team’s current race vehicles.

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