Aston Martin Racing Hydrogen-Powered Rapide On Nurburgring

Aston Martin announced today it will again compete in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring with a Rapide sedan –  but this time, the automaker will field a Rapide S that’s fueled by Hydrogen.

Aston Martin’s press materials refer to the white Rapide S you see here as a “hydrogen hybrid,” but don’t let that name fool you: unlike most other vehicles that wear hybrid badging, there is no electric motor or secondary propulsion source housed within the vehicle. In this case, the “hybrid” term is Aston’s way of noting the car runs on gasoline, hydrogen, or a blend of the two fuels. We usually see that noted as “bi-fuel,” but concede “Hydrogen Bi-Fuel” carries none of the cachet or alliterative cool as “Hydrogen Hybrid.” 

Aston Martin developed this Rapide S in concert with Alset Global, an engineering firm specializing in hydrogen dual-fuel conversions. The Rapide S retains its 6.0-liter V-12, but it gains a pair of turbochargers, a new fuel rail, hardened valves and seats, and a new engine computer. It’s also hard not to miss the four carbon fiber tanks – two placed next to the driver, and two placed in the trunk – that hold 7.7 pounds of compressed hydrogen at 5000 PSI.

According to Aston’s release, it hopes to complete at least one full lap of the 12.9-mile Nurburgring Nordschlieffe burning only hydrogen, and subsequently emitting only water vapor from the tailpipe. Although Aston touts the bi-fuel system as a way to run on hydrogen without being entirely dependent on a fledgling refueling infrastructure, the automaker notes Linde, a supplier of industrial gases, will install a temporary hydrogen fueling station near Aston’s pit for use in the race.

This isn’t Aston’s first foray into the Nurburgring 24 Hours race, nor is it the first time it’s campaigned a Rapide sedan in the endurance race (a Rapide raced the ‘Ring a few years back). This also isn’t the first alternative-fueled racer to pop up at the event, as Volkswagen has regularly fielded Scirocco coupes burning CNG. That said, this does appear to be the first alt-fuel Aston Martin we’ve seen at the event.

Source: Aston Martin