Racing formula to bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to the racetracks

Racing formula to bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to the racetracks

Feature articles |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Starting in 2023, the Hyraze League will be the first automobile racing series in the world to use hydrogen as an energy source. A locally almost emission-free form of motorsport will be created, which at the same time should drive forward the testing of new technologies. The races will be held with 800 hp hydrogen cars with all-wheel drive. The energy for the emission-free drive is supplied by hydrogen, which is converted into electricity for the four electric motors in the two fuel cells of the racing cars. The German motor sports club DMSB, the motoring club ADAC, the testing organization DEKRA, the racing sport engineering company HWA AG, the automobile supplier Schaeffler AG and the e-sports association WESA are behind the concept.

The Hyraze League does not only want to break new ground in the drive concept. Other sources of fine dust pollution are also to be eliminated with the new racing series, in order to give the whole thing an environmentally friendly coat of paint. For example, the brakes of the four-wheel drive vehicles are designed in such a way that the brake dust produced can be collected in the vehicle and subsequently disposed of in an environmentally neutral manner. Special tyres developed from rapidly renewable raw materials also ensure that tyre abrasion is minimised.

The energy concept of the vehicles is designed in such a way that the drivers – in contrast to Formula E – can use the full performance of the vehicle without restrictions over the entire racing distance. The vehicles are equipped with two hydrogen tanks which can be refilled quickly during the race. This means that the races can be extended to long-distance distances – an advantage that hydrogen technology offers over battery electric vehicles.

The body parts are made of natural fiber composite material and can be designed by the teams according to their own ideas, while observing strict rules for aerodynamics. This ensures that everyone can present his or her individual design language and body shape, regardless of whether or not the vehicle is series-produced. Under the outer skin, the technology of the first generation of vehicles is essentially based on standard components developed by the technology partners involved in the project. The holistic approach is intended to ensure that the Hyraze League not only creates an environmentally friendly and technology-driven form of motorsport, but also gives amateurs and professionals virtually equal opportunities.

With a novel combination of e-sports and real motor sports, the Hyraze League also breaks new ground in addressing not only fans at the track, but also the young, digitally-affine target group: The teams have two drivers for each car – one for the real special stages and one who takes part in the e-sport events, which are also part of the championship. The results of both races are equally divided into the championship standings, so that in the end one team is declared the overall winner of both disciplines – an absolute novelty in motorsport. As a series partner, the e-sports association WESA (World eSports Association) plays a major role in shaping the development of the general conditions in the virtual environment.

Several partners are taking up the challenge of jointly developing this revolutionary project in order to reposition parts of automobile sport in line with the spirit of the times. With the DMSB (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund) and Europe’s largest mobility club, the ADAC e. V., two experienced partners set the rules for a professionally organized championship. In the future, the racing series is intended to be established worldwide. 

The overall concept and essential components of the vehicle are developed by the engineering experts of HWA AG. Part of this overall concept is a deliberate renunciation of aerodynamic downforce, which should facilitate overtaking maneuvers and provide for action on the track. The lack of downforce provides for a longer braking distance, which, in addition to the sporty aspect, benefits above all an optimized energy recovery through recuperation. The energy collected during braking is temporarily stored in high-performance battery cells to maximise efficiency and conserve resources.

Together with the motor sport safety experts from DEKRA and DMSB, a safety concept for the racing vehicle is also being developed, which focuses primarily on the protection of the hydrogen components. Deformable elements absorb energy in the event of a crash; an extremely strong carbon structure protects the hydrogen tanks, which are also made of carbon fibre, against crash loads. Corresponding independent tests are carried out by DEKRA in its test laboratories on prototype parts. The aim is to draw up regulations approved by the FIA.

The automotive supplier Schaeffler is playing a leading role in this project as an innovation and technology partner for components such as electric motors and steering. The steer-by-wire system implemented in the vehicle controls the steering by means of electronic pulses. The mechanical connection via the steering column is therefore no longer necessary. Networked via intelligent control systems, previously unattainable vehicle dynamics functions such as torque vectoring become possible.

With this combination of future-oriented drive forms, resource-saving automobile production and high safety standards, the Hyraze League is intended to provide important impulses for technology transfer according to the ideas of its creators and is thus an optimal development platform for the mobility of the future.

Image: © HWA AG

Related articles:

Race car with steer-by-wire technology in action

Winners at the Le Mans endurance race take Bosch under their hood

Wireless power transfer, ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity in F1 racing

Robot on the Racetrack: Audi presents driverless racing car

If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles