Vijay Pattni08 June 2012

Hydrogen-electric racer set for Le Mans

GreenGT H2 will race in 2013 after being approved for ‘Garage 56’, looks like a shark

GreenGT H2

According to an Internet, somewhere, the Hammerhead shark has a disproportionately small mouth and does a lot of ‘bottom-hunting'. What you see above isn't a Hammerhead shark, but a Le Mans racer that looks an awful lot like one.

[Cue Jaws music] And next year, Le Mans organiser ACO has confirmed this mobile Hammerhead is heading for the hallowed ground of La Sarthe.

It's called the GreenGT H2, and is a hydrogen-electric hybrid racer that will occupy ‘Garage 56' at the 2013 Le Mans endurace race; that experimental pit at the circuit - filled this year by Nissan's revolutionary DeltaWing racer - that is judged to be technologically innovative.

The GreenGT H2 boasts a hydrogen fuel cell that produces electricity to drive two electric motors which produce around 540bhp, sitting on a bespoke chassis built by the Welter Racing team; Le Mans veterans throughout the 90s. And veteran viewers of Top Gear will of course remember James May's film about the Honda Clarity, extolling the virtues of hydrogen cars as the future (it doesn't emit anything nasty).

GreenGT tells us earlier prototypes used lithium-ion batteries, but were found to be the "weak point". Hydrogen was then chosen, and a 100kW fuel cell was developed last year and tested, alongside a twin-motor powertrain that can power the 1,240kg chassis to an expected top speed of 186mph. By any measure, that's quick.

Because of its Garage 56 designation, the GreenGT H2 - like the DeltaWing - won't be classified in the normal LMP1/LMP2/GTE Pro/GTE AM classes, but will get to race, and will therefore have to pass all the relevant safety tests. We're informed testing will begin in July. Will this go ‘bottom-hunting' next year? And how do you think it'll fare next to the DeltaWing? Don't forget, TopGear.com is building its very own version of Nissan's racer, and it's coming along quite nicely...

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