Radar Lovin' On The Cheap
Racing Goes Green
Ladies and gentlemen: Switch on your hydrogen valves! Peter DeLorenzo, the mind behind the rabble-rousing Autoextremist.com Web site, hopes to press racing's reset button with his newly formed Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation (HERF). Forget V-8s and V-10s; to compete in this league, auto manufacturers and their racing teams will be tuning up fuel cells and electric motors.
The idea of hydrogen-electric single-seaters racing at 185 mph around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two years may be far-fetched, but HERF's January coming-out party was well attended by top executives from the six largest car companies. GM's vice chairman, Bob Lutz, bestowed his best wishes during warm introductory remarks. Indy CEO Tony George and American Le Mans Series president Scott Atherton listened attentively while DeLorenzo shared his vision. His hope is to return racing's focus to developing technologies feasible for production cars, a plan that he believes would add entertainment value and draw new spectators.
HERF's rules have not yet been written, but DeLorenzo envisions 2000-pound closed-wheel racers packing 400 hp and fueled by 18 pounds of onboard hydrogen. Tires will be single-sourced. Chassis and aerodynamic details will be unfettered by rules to encourage creativity. To replace the din of unmuffled internal combustion, each car will broadcast its own artificial sound signature.
DeLorenzo hopes to wave the green flag for the inaugural Hydrogen 500 in May of 2009 and to expand to five international races per year by 2011.
To join the federation, interested manufacturers must sign a letter of intent to compete and pay $250,000 by April 10, 2007.
Will A Hydrogen Race Series Gain Traction?Someday, the HERF logo will be as well-known as NASCAR's-well, that's the hope of the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation.
What's next, jettas in nascar?
Volkswagen of America is getting racy. VW will dole out $300,000 in award money to VWs in certain 2007 SCCA races. For '08, it will run a GTI Cup race series, also through the SCCA. Oh, and for those who only race against unwitting drivers on the freeway, VW is bringing back the R32. The 250-hp, all-wheel-drive super Rabbit goes on sale in August for just over $30K.