Many new automobile technologies are proven on the race track, and Aston Martin’s hydrogen hybrid race car is going to do just that when it competes next month on the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
If the track is the best way to prove a vehicle’s fitness for the road, then the 24 Hours of Nürburgring is probably one of the toughest ways to do so. The 15.7mi track is driven by 210 cars and nearly 800 drivers for a 24hr period. The object of the race is not to cross the finish line first, but to cross it as many times as possible.
In 2011, a record 156 laps was set by a Porsche 997 GT3-RSR. In 24hrs over 156 laps, this equates to a total distance of 2,449mi and an average speed of 102mph, including pit stops for refueling, maintenance and repairs. Just for comparison, the average driver in the US takes drives 2,449mi in 11 weeks, and certainly not at an average speed of 100mph. This year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring will have a new entrant from Aston Martin, the debut of a prototype hydrogen hybrid race car engine in the Rapide S.
This is the first car to ever race the Nürburgring powered partly by hydrogen. The prototype engine is a 6.0ℓ V12 turbocharged gasoline / hydrogen hybrid engine. The engine can run on any blend of gasoline and gaseous hydrogen from 0% to 100% either way. Gaseous hydrogen is stored in tanks in the trunk and passenger side of the vehicle and of course has zero carbon emissions when used in the engine. Aston Martin will be putting their new prototype engine and fuel / emissions management system to the test, along with every other part of the Rapide S, in the grueling race on May 19 and 20.