Toyota Gazoo unveiled the hydrogen powered GR H2 Racing Concept designed with the intention of competing in the new hydrogen category at Le Mans, which intends to launch in 2026.
Toyota made clear their intentions of staying in the World Endurance Championship by introducing the GR H2 Racing Concept in a press conference at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).
Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota, unveiled this hydrogen engine prototype after ACO announced that hydrogen-powered car category is set to become an integral part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This comes after the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) recently announced that in addition to the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles that were already confirmed to compete, hydrogen-engine vehicles will also be allowed to compete.
Given that Toyota is one of the leading proponents of hydrogen vehicles and has a history in racing, this comes as not much of a surprise. Previously, the Japanese carmaker fielded cars in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) and Hypercar (LMH) classes.
Now that the WEC’s hydrogen class is expected to make its debut in 2026, Toyota is understandably looking to the future as it is the first automotive juggernaut to express a great interest in it.
Furthermore, Toyota has previous experience with racing a Corolla powered by a hydrogen engine in the Super Taikyu Series and the IDEMITSU 1500 SUPER ENDURANCE 2022. This demonstrates dedication to the use of more environmentally friendly fuels in motorsport. As a result, the Japanese automaker got the ability to improve its technologies based on practical race experience.
Regrettably, few technical details are available about the GR H2 Racing Concept. All we currently know about it is that it will have a hydrogen-hybrid engine that measures 5,100 mm (201 in) in length and breadth, and weigh 2,050 mm (80.7 in).
Toyota is excited to take advantage of this chance to share what it has discovered so far and inspire rivals to think about this intriguing new possibility. There’s more to hydrogen than meets the eye, according to Akio Toyoda.
Clearly, the biggest benefit is influencing motorsport to move in a more carbon-neutral manner, which may eventually affect our road cars. This is one of Toyota’s objectives since the manufacturer is working to create a society free of carbon emissions using a variety of means, including battery electric cars.
However, hydrogen may offer the answer that fans are seeking. which would maintain the thrill and performance we previously experienced. Toyoda noted that by choosing this option, we would be able to continue to experience the dynamics, sound, and torque that we have grown to love.
A crucial advantage hydrogen has over conventional gas engines was also emphasized by Toyota’s chairman. The advantage is due to hydrogen’s lighter weight than gasoline Given that weight plays a significant role in racecars.
Finally, Toyoda’s faith in the technology is another factor in why Toyota has such a keen interest in employing hydrogen in racing. According to the chairman of Toyota, the manufacturer would not invest in this technology if it could not win races.
He has driven a number of racecars, including a hydrogen-powered GR Yaris that was used to test at a WRC stage, so he probably knows what he’s talking about. Overall, this is great news from Toyota, providing longtime racing enthusiasts a reason to be optimistic about the future of motorsport.
The Toyota GR H2 prototype concept will be on exhibition at the ACO’s “H2 Village” at the Circuit de la Sarthe from now until the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.