Toyota Reveals Hydrogen Prototype for Le Mans
Toyota Motor Corporation has become the first manufacturer to reveal a concept car for the new hydrogen prototype class which will soon be introduced in the World Endurance Championship from 2026. Hydrogen Industry Leaders explores how it will show the potential of zero-emission mobility.
The GR H2 Racing Concept was developed with future competition in its sights. The prototype was unveiled at a press conference hosted by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organiser of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
It follows ACO’s recent announcement that it would allow hydrogen-engine vehicles to compete, in addition to fuel cell electric vehicles, in a hydrogen category.
The hydrogen class will be open to hydrogen-combustion and fuel cell racers
Designing and organising world-leading car races, the ACO was founded in 1906. It is also a club with more than 20,000 car and motorbike enthusiast members.
ACO began deploying its hydrogen strategy in 2018, with the aim of introducing a category dedicated to hydrogen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the rest of the FIA WEC. The hydrogen class will be introduced in 2026, open to hydrogen-combustion and hydrogen-fuel-cell racers.
Le Mans organisers have been talking about running a hydrogen-powered class at the race since 2018, but have previously pushed the deadline back to launch this category for the cars.
Initially, it was thought that the category would be run to a one-make chassis spec, but it is now thought that there is now sufficient interest among manufacturers that it will be open for individual developments.
Race organisers have said they will use the category’s ‘balance of performance’ rules to put the cars on par with the fastest racing cars. From 2030, it is anticipated that all cars racing at Le Mans will be hydrogen-powered.
So far there haven’t been many technical details of the Toyota GR H2 Racing Concept revealed. However, Toyota has said that it measures 5,100mm long and 2.050mm wide. Its powertrain features a hydrogen engine and hybrid system.
Toyota is aiming to boost the transition to a carbon-neutral society
Hydrogen-powered racing cars aren’t a new thing for Toyota. Since 2021, Toyota has been competing with a hydrogen-engine Corolla race car in Japan’s Super Taikyu endurance racing series. This is the same car that also took part in an endurance race in Thailand in December 2022.
Toyota has explained that it used this involvement to: “hone its technologies in the harsh environment of motorsport and, with like-minded partners within and outside the automotive industry, has been accelerating its efforts around the production, transportation and use of hydrogen to progress towards realising a carbon-neutral society.”
To see the GR H2 Racing Concept developed into a race car, Toyota will work in collaboration with its research facility in Higashi Fuji and Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe in Cologne, which runs the team’s current race cars.
In the future, Toyota intends to advance its efforts to make ever-better cars through motorsports and achieve a carbon-neutral society.