What is the first thought when the words Aston Martin hit your ears? Speed and power? Incredible sound, stunning good looks? Gas guzzler? Well, one of those thoughts is about to change because Aston Martin is debuting an entirely new kind of race car, a hybrid hydrogen car based on the Aston Martin Rapide S. This will be the car first of its kind to compete in an international event as Aston is taking it to the Nurburgring 24-hour race. If successful, it will mark the first time a zero emissions car will run a race-pace lap at the event.
Partnering with hydrogen experts Alset Global, Aston Martin will run the hybrid Rapide S with a twin turbocharged 6.0-liter V12. Based on the Rapide S road car, which is to hit showroom floors within weeks, this hybrid racecar is capable of running on just gas, pure hydrogen, or a combination of both. Aston hopes that in pure hydrogen mode the car will be able to run a zero emission lap with only water emitted from the exhaust.
Knowing Aston as we do, it is to be expected that the layout of the hydrogen system would be well thought out while weighing as little as possible. For flexibility in the use of the hydrogen or gas system, the Rapide S uses a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks, and proprietary engine management system.
To ensure optimal safety and performance, the four hydrogen holding tanks are made from ultra-high strength carbon fiber, which can hold a total of 7.7-pounds of hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar. The placement of the tanks are deliberate, with two next to the driver and two at the trunk of the car.
With approval to run the system by the DMSB (German motorsports governing body), Aston Martin will hopefully see success running in the upcoming ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24-hours race on May 19-20. It will be the eighth-consecutive year that an Aston will run at the race.
Although we like the smell of pure race fuel burning at any given racetrack, we do hope Aston can be the first to prove that this technology can work -- especially while sporting the famed 007 numbers. What would Bond think?