An Aston Martin has completed what's believed to be the first hydrogen-powered lap around the famous Nürburgring as the automaker prepares to enter its H2-powered hybrid in next month's 24-hour race at the German racetrack.

The Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S made a four-hour run around the track, with Aston Martin chief executive officer Dr. Ulrich Bez at the wheel, no less. The car is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine that can run on gasoline, hydrogen or a combination of both. The test drive was in preparation of Aston Martin entering the car in Nürburgring's 24-hour enduro on May 19.

Aston Martin is making a big deal about its hydrogen racer being "the first zero CO2 emissions sports car to complete a race pace lap at the Nürburgring 24-hour race." That may be true, but zero-emission sports cars have tackled the Nürburgring track many times before, just not under hydrogen power. It's the 24-hour part that's admittedly tricky for electric cars.
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ASTON MARTIN MAKES HYBRID HYDROGEN HISTORY AT THE NÜRBURGRING

29 April, 2013. Aston Martin has secured its place in the history books with a world first hydrogen-fuelled zero CO2 emission lap of the Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

The lap was completed on Saturday (27 April) with Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez at the wheel of the prototype Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S and was a perfect test run ahead of a formal record-breaking attempt at the ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring (N24) next month.

Aston Martin engineers were using the four-hour ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup VLN series race as a shake-down and test session ahead of the gruelling 24 hour race next month in which the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S will line-up alongside a world-class field of some 200+ GT cars.

Development of the ground-breaking hybrid system - created by technical partners Alset Global and pioneered by Aston Martin in the race - has exceeded expectations, leading to the historic hydrogen-only lap of the infamous 'green hell' on Saturday afternoon.

Dr Bez said: "I am incredibly proud of the Aston Martin team, and our partners Alset Global. We have written a little motorsport history with this qualifying lap as well as finishing the four hour race on hydrogen and, of course, it bodes extremely well for our participation in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in three weeks' time.

"To have run full laps on hydrogen gas alone during the four-hour event is an exceptional 'first', and I now hope that we can stabilise the system and further improve the Rapide S so we can complete the 24-hour race on May 19 with many zero emission laps."

David King, Director of Special Projects at Aston Martin and the man leading the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S project, said: "This achievement should leave no one in any doubt that the system we have developed with Alset Global is a viable and exciting option for the future.

"The creation of the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S was, for Aston Martin, another high profile way for us to mark our centenary in 2013, and to demonstrate our engineering capabilities in the most demanding environment of a major endurance race. This is the ultimate expression of our long term strategy of using the Nürburgring 24 hour race to publicly demonstrate the abilities of our cars and our people."

When it competes next month the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S - based on Aston Martin's new four-door, four-seat sports car - will become the first hydrogen-powered car to compete in an international event as well as the first zero CO2 emissions sports car to complete a race pace lap at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The car will compete in an experimental class (E1- XP) having passed rigorous technical and safety assessments by the German motorsport
authority the DMSB to be granted approval to race.

It will be able to complete full laps with zero CO2 emissions and will be refuelled after each stint with 3.5kg (circa 7.7 lb) of hydrogen as well as gasoline. Working in partnership with hydrogen experts Alset Global, Aston Martin's engineers have developed a prototype twin turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 engine that powers the Nürburgring car.

Capable of running on pure gasoline, pure gaseous hydrogen, or a blend of both, the Hybrid Hydrogen race car showcases Aston Martin's commitment to engineering innovation. In pure hydrogen mode the car emits virtually only water from the exhaust.

The Hybrid Hydrogen system comprises a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks and proprietary engine management system. Safety is paramount and the system includes four ultra-high strength carbon fibre tanks holding a total of 3.5kg (circa 7.7 lb) of hydrogen stored at a pressure of 350bar.

The race car is based on the new 550bhp Rapide S four-door sports car arriving at Aston Martin showrooms across the Americas in the coming weeks.

Aston Martin competes in the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 19-20 for the eighth successive year.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Waiting for the video, to hear what it sounds like!
      Oversteer325
      • 1 Year Ago
      Surely BMW took a Hydrogen 7 around the track a few years ago.
      phun-ky
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do I see a turbo (in the diagram) in an Aston Martin??? :O The world is coming to an end!
      Bernie Kressner
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like the Aston Martin experiment, as I do all other novel ideas with racing, such as last year's "Deltawing". These sorts of things need to be encouraged much more. I applaud AM's venture. But BMW did not "discard" the hydrogen idea; it merely shelved the effort for now, and rumor has it that some busses in Munich are (or had been) running on LH2. Another tidbit that has come out is that a quiet low-key BMW project involves making a special light 4-cylinder engine optimized for running H2, which, of course, the "Hydrogen 7" definitely was not. But I can't easily verify either, even as a BMW owner. The big problem with H2 is storage, as a liquid or a compressed gas. The need is to get the hydrogen packing density up much higher. And Audi is working on a clever approach: 1) Use Hydrolysis of sea water by wind turbines to get H2 (and O2, which can be sold to hospitals, etc); 2) React the H2 with CO2 harvested from the atmosphere to produce CH4; 3) Use CH4 for a motor fuel, as we do now in many vehicles (e.g., new Ram truck) This process is largely "carbon neutral" because although it produces CO2 from the tailpipe, it got that CO2 from the air in the first place, so there is not a net increase. And even though you would be directly burning methane (CH4), you are indirectly burning hydrogen. ----------------------------------
      Koenigsegg
      • 1 Year Ago
      thought that was the ford fusion...
        Harry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        If you are going to steal... Borrow a design feature, make sure it is a good one. And the Fusion does look pretty good. Not Rapide good, but good enough.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        Looks kinda like a Model S...
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hopefully it at least eclipsed the 7:45 mark but no time was given..... Probably because it was embarrasing.....
      thisistheemailiuseforcommenting
      Hey...that's a pretty good looking Ford.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Placed 157th, fastest lap was 10:12 Race results here: http://www.vln.de/ergebnisse/2013-04-27r.html Translated to English: http://goo.gl/w3iBs
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Btw I love the photo above, the waving checkered flag makes it look like the car is comming in first, but you can tell by the way that most of the spectators are walking away that the race has been over for some time.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Everybody gets the checkered flag at the end of the race, no matter what their position. That's what the checkered flag is for - to indicate the final lap has been completed and that the driver should slow down. Likewise, the AM is a modified four-door luxury sedan, competing against a field of highly-modified and custom-built race cars - nobody has any pretensions of it placing highly.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Btw, The Mini E run in 2005 recorded a time of 9:52. Also Audi R8 e-tron recorded 8:09 in 2012.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          You can't really compare the Mini-E's hot lap on a closed, empty track to the AM lap during an actual with race traffic.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can you imagine the humidity in NY City if every car was hydrogen powered?
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Well . . . don't gasoline cars emit nearly as much water vapor?
        goodoldgorr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        In 2099, when most of the cars will be powered by hydrogen, they will install air dryers everywhere powered by hydrogen and the humidity will be capture and flush on planet Saturn. the government is actually studying this with 500 engineers and scientists with a subsidies of 52.4 millions for 4.5 years starting in late 2014.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Mini-E lapped the Nürburgring in 2005: http://www.automobilemag.com/multimedia/videos_01/green_car_at_green_hell_mini_e_at_the_nurburgring/5496/ 6.0-liter V12? I bet this thing gets about 10mile per kg.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        "I bet this thing gets about 10mile per kg." Well, it *is* a high-performance car, so mpkg isn't the ultimate goal... But at your hypothetical rate, two full laps on one fill of hydrogen should be pretty easily accomplished.
        Aaron N.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        HYDROGEN, not hybrid.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would rather have seen a fuel cell hydrogen car be first.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        There will be a HFCV at LeMans. http://www.greengt.com/en/greengt-h2.php "With less than 60 days remaining before the official pre-Le Mans test day on June 9, the fuel-cell electric Green GT H2 prototype has been put through its paces in Switzerland and at Magny-Cours, France." http://www.lemanslive.com/News/Track-debut-for-the-Green-GT-H2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkwonSjBTKM (video en français)
          goodoldgorr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          This car is way better then the aston-martin.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not a first I'm afraid.... the Nissan X-Trail FCV did a timed lap in 2008.... http://green.autoblog.com/2008/07/24/nissan-hits-the-nurburgring-in-the-x-trail-fcv/
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