Forze hydrogen car finishes race, but lacks power

It was a world’s first when the Forze hydrogen car reached the finish of an official 60-minute car race during the Super Challenge last Saturday. Forze finished sixth as the only hydrogen car among petrol guzzlers.

It’s Forze’s fate to compete with petrol cars because there simply are no other hydrogen racing cars. This version, Forze VIII, has a new bodywork and larger hydrogen tanks, enabling it to race for as long as an hour.

Gijs Vermeij, the team manager, declared that “The real accomplishment of this weekend is that for the first time in automotive history, a hydrogen racing car has finished an official car race for petrol-fuelled cars.”

The previous weekend, the pink racing car booked its fastest time ever on the Zandvoort racing circuit. This weekend’s Super Challenge took place in Assen.

A video of the race shows Forze being overtaken twice by competitors. Marketing manager Segher Brons commented that “In the curves, we keep up with the petrol cars, but once out of the bend they accelerate faster.”

It’s all a question of power. Petrol racing cars typically have 500 hp or 370 kilowatt engines. Forze’s fuel cell’s maximum is 110 kilowatt, and the car has supercaps that boost another 110 kilowatt of braking energy over 10 seconds maximum. In brief, Forze VIII lacks power.

Brons says the next Forze version will feature fuel cells with higher power output, and that the front wheels may be powered as well. This would make it possible to harvest brake energy from the front wheels as well, delivering an even bigger power boost out of the bend.