High Performance Hydrogen Combustion Engine Debuts

This week I bring you details of a new high performance hydrogen combustion race engine, a test drive of the Formula E GenBeta, and a hydrogen-powered Dakar Rally car.

All this plus the importance of electrification in motorsport, how the Las Vegas Grand Prix plans to conserve water and the new Formula E schedule.

It is all in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news.

Sustainable Motorsport News

High Performance Hydrogen Combustion Engine Debuts

It is interesting and heartening to see how sustainability is slowly but continuously becoming a factor in motorsport-related events. Take Top Gear’s annual Speed Week for instance. This year, the producers of this homage to speed have implemented a number of sustainability activities.

This year we posed ourselves an additional question: “Could we make Speed Week a low-carbon event, without compromising on the, y’know, speed?” What followed was a crash course – from a team within the BBC that knows about these things – in sustainability, or more specifically how to avoid the many and varied pitfalls of claiming to be green, when you’re anything but.

You can pore over the calculations in full in the latest issue of the magazine, but the take-home was this: it’s not an exact science, many lessons were learned for how to reduce our footprint in the future, but we proved it’s possible to still enjoy the cars we all love, while treading a little lighter on our planet.

Finding the best performance car of 2023: Top Gear’s Speed Week is here

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

The Nissan Formula E Team has announced a partnership with Coral for the upcoming 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The UAE-based software company specializes in offsetting carbon emissions by using blockchain technology, bringing transparency and verification to carbon credit markets.

The goal for the partnership is to combine Nissan Formula E’s vast reach with Coral’s transparent and efficient platform, in order to increase awareness of the impact of carbon credits, directly contributing to global decarbonization and a cleaner future. The Coral logo will appear on both the Nissan Formula E Team cars throughout Season 10.”

The team has also moved into a new, cutting-edge new facility. “This move is part of Nissan’s overall plan for its Formula E team – bolstering capabilities and performance in line with its ambitions for the Gen3 era of the sport. It also underlines the company’s firm dedication to both motorsport and the future of sustainable mobility, as the team continues to prioritize world class research and development, including its road-to-track and track-to-road knowledge exchange.”

Extreme E tester Patrick O’Donovan see sustainability as the “way forward” for young drivers. “The younger generation is more open minded,” says O’Donovan. “They look towards sustainable motorsport and sporting solutions. So I think this is a no brainer really. It’s the most exciting form of motorsport out there.”

E.ON Energy explains how their Veloce Partnership is key to promoting a decarbonised future. “Extreme E is a series that is all about sustainability,” says Scott Somerville, Chief Marketing Officer, E.ON UK. “The car is one you won’t have seen before, which adds interest. Despite the sustainability focus, the racing isn’t compromised. In fact, the racing intensity is enhanced by the short format, and then there’s the diversity message on top of that.” Extreme E teams all have one male and one female driver, giving each equal weighting and responsibility for winning. “This makes the partnership with Veloce uniquely interesting.”

The Williams Formula 1 team has announced a multi-year deal with THG that sees the company become an official partner across the fields of nutrition, technology and e-commerce, and sustainability.

Sustainable solutions advisor THG Eco has become an official sustainability partner, with a view to measuring carbon usage, a key parameter for all F1 teams, especially in the build-up to the sport’s Net Zero 2030 target.

We are thrilled to announce our global partnership with THG,” said team principal James Vowles. “Williams Racing has always been known as a disruptor in the racing world, including championing new technologies and challenging the status quo through innovation.”

Las Vegas Grand Prix Net Zero Water Initiative

Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc. has announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind water conservation program to implement technologies that can reduce, and eventually offset, outdoor water consumption at large-scale sporting events. The initiative will be rolled out at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in partnership with Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), WaterStart and MGM Resorts ahead of the FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX 2023 in November. At scale, the water conservation program could make it possible for the event to be the first Net-Zero Water Consumption race in Formula 1 history.

Given the severity of our drought in Clark County, we always appreciate proactive efforts from private partners to minimize their water use,” said Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “This project has the potential to serve as a template for other events held in our community and reaffirming our collective commitment to water conservation in our destination.”

Thomas Laudenbach, the Vice President Porsche Motorsport, explains why electrification in motorsport is important.

Electrification is not limited to road vehicles, but is also very important in motorsport. Our racing activities have to be relevant at all times in terms of what’s happening on the road. In top level sport, we are implementing electrification in Formula E, in endurance we have hybridisation and in customer sport our vision is the GT4 e-Performance. The car is spectacular, it creates excitement, amazement and fascination. Not only with the fans, but also with our works drivers – who get out of the car with a big grin on their faces after every drive.”

In Joe Saward’s latest Green Notebook, Green Notebook from Waxahachie, he mentions an interesting sustainability initiative by Ferrari’s logistics partner CEVA.

The other story that I liked related to Ferrari’s logistics partner CEVA, which came up with an F1 first by sending F1 freight between the North American races using the railways, which is far more environmentally-friendly than planes, trucks and cargo ships. CEVA convinced Ferrari to send some of its equipment from Montreal to Austin and then on to Las Vegas by train, calculating that it would reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent compared to the equivalent journey by air and 32 percent when compared to trucks.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

AVL RACETECH has introduced a hydrogen-powered, high performance race engine.
The prototype of a 2 liter hydrogen combustion engine proves itself on the testbed with 302 kW and 505 Nm. The motorsport department of AVL is celebrating a milestone on the road to a zero-emission future of motorsport. The race engine was put through its paces on the testbed and confirmed the top values calculated previously in simulations. With a specific power density around 205 hp per liter (150 kW/l), the engine achieves a highly competitive level in the world of motorsport.”

Project leader Paul Kapus, Manager Development Spark Ignited Engines:At the end of 2022, we announced for the first time that we would be working on a two-liter, hydrogen-powered racing engine with stoichiometric combustion and PFI water injection. Our goals were 500 Nm of torque and an output of up to 300 kW (specific output 150 kW/l). We are proud to have been able to validate those figures on the testbed.”

Ellen Lohr, Director Motorsport AVL:The results achieved by our H2 racing engine confirm that we are able to deliver an extremely competitive package with this technology. The goal of AVL RACETECH is to lead motorsport into a sustainable future. With the development of the first racing engine developed under our own name – a high-performance H2 ICE – we have taken another step closer to achieving this vision.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Four months after its reveal, the Apache APH-01 will finally enter its first race at this weekend’s Baja Portalegre 500 with Mathieu Serradori and Loïc Minaudier as driver and navigator, respectively. Sports & You, the Portuguese and Spanish distributor for rally manufacturers like Citroën, Opel, and Peugeot, will support the effort.

The APH-01 is touted by creator Apache Automotive as the “most advanced T3 prototype ever designed,” featuring both an electric and a three-cylinder Peugeot internal combustion engine on each end. The latter serves as the main power generator with 150 kW while the electric unit adds an additional 50 kW, and it operates on second-generation biofuels. The vehicle’s hybrid nature also means it is capable of regenerative braking and reducing fuel consumption by twenty percent.

Its body is composed of flax fibre, which is derived from flax plant and lighter than standard carbon fibre; recycled carbon fibre is also used to make the dashboard. The body paneling is held together using linen fibres, further reducing the car’s weight and is intended to absorb lighter impacts and vibrations.

Apache APH-01 to debut at Baja Portalegre 500 (The Checkered Flag)

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

With the aim of pushing the boundaries of hydrogen engine technology, the Hydrogen Small Mobility & Engine Technology (HySE) research association has announced its entry into the Mission 1000 challenge of the Dakar 2024 Rally, set to take place in Saudi Arabia in January next year.

Mission 1000 is a part of the Dakar Future Program, an initiative aimed at driving auto makers to develop next-generation carbon-neutral powertrain technologies, including hydrogen engines and electric or biofuel hybrids. Running the HySE-X1 hydrogen-engine vehicle in the Dakar Rally is intended to test the technology under the extreme conditions the event presents. This will offer HySE an opportunity to assess the hydrogen engine’s performance and durability in harsh conditions.”

High Performance Hydrogen Combustion Engine Debuts

Top Gear reviews the Formula E GenBeta prototype and comes away impressed.

Part Scalextric car, part post-apocalyptic Caterham. It’s swear-word fast. It whines and whooshes and buzzes with energy. The brake pedal is near-solid but stupendously powerful. It’s incredibly calibrated, when you see the car has tiny front brake discs and none at all at the back, because it uses 600kW of regen to slow down when you’re in a last-of-the-late-brakers shootout into turn one.

It certainly sounds angry enough to be a proper racecar when you’re strapped tight into its core, peering around the halo which your brain quickly learns to see ‘through’. I spend about half an hour down there, feeling the car out, trying to absorb and process the messages it’s constantly feeding back.

Formula E GenBeta review: forget Gen3, this rule-breaking prototype is the future

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

As a driver renowned for his impressive technical understanding, it’s no surprise that Carlos Sainz is well clued up on all aspects of Formula 1 – including fuel. Autosport looks at why F1’s looming fuel revolution has triggered Sainz’s attention.

When we changed to the 10% ethanol fuel [for 2022], I remember there was a drop in performance expected. All drivers were worried, because they said the engines were going to drop by 20/30 horsepower. So now the next big challenge will be the 2026 set of regulations and going 100% sustainable fuels. And I think this is where my interest is going to shift more now; to follow the development and see how also, with the designing of the rules, it’s going to play out.”

Series News

New Formula E Logo

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship has announced a return to China and India for the milestone 10th season of the electric motor racing series, making it the only motorsport to stage events during 2024 in the world’s three most populous countries: China, India and the USA.

Alberto Longo, Co-Founder & Chief Championship Officer, Formula E, said:Without doubt our Season 10 calendar is the most compelling yet for drivers, teams, fans and viewers around the world. We are taking Formula E to Shanghai for the first time and are honoured to return to India thanks to the support of the Telangana Government and Minister K. T. Rama Rao. The combination of street circuits, which is in Formula E’s DNA, and established race tracks will allow drivers to push the capabilities of the GEN3 car harder and further after a first season that beat all expectations with triple-digit overtakes in most races and the world championship titles decided on the final weekend.”

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.