Toyota has been very active lately, revealing a number of interesting concept cars previewing future models and technologies (see the related links below). That activeness comes to its culmination with the GR H2 Racing Concept unveiled today at the Circuit de la Sarthe in western France ahead of this weekend’s 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. The hydrogen-powered endurance race car concept was revealed by Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s chairman.
The automaker doesn’t release technical specifications for the hydrogen engine prototype, only saying it is 5,100 mm long and 2,050 mm wide. This makes it slightly longer and wider than Toyota’s LMP1-H Le Mans Prototype, which is 4,650 mm long and 1,900 mm wide. The Japanese firm also confirms powering the race car concept is a mix between a hydrogen engine and a hybrid system, but this is literally everything we know about what’s happening under the skin.
We do know, however, that Toyota will race a hydrogen car at the 2026 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans following a decision by the race’s organizers, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), to allow both hydrogen-combustion and hydrogen-fuel-cell racers at the event. By the end of the decade, ACO predicts that all cars in the competition will feature some sort of hydrogen powertrain.
“Le Mans is a place we can push boundaries and realize the future. My goal is to reach carbon neutrality without compromising the speed or excitement of racing. I wouldn’t invest in this technology if I didn’t think we could win with it… Hydrogen is not just about zero emissions but a truly exciting technology: it delivers sound, torque, and dynamics. It is all of these things,” Akio Toyota said during the concept car’s debut.
Toyota has been using a hydrogen-engine Corolla in the Super Taikyu Series since the third round of the 2021 season. The GR H2 Racing Concept, in turn, will be developed into a full-blown Le Mans race car in cooperation between Toyota’s research facility in Higashi Fuji and Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe in Cologne. The latter is the outfit that runs the team’s current race cars.