Four teams of students studying the MSc Advanced Motorsport Engineering at Cranfield are designing a hydrogen-powered sports racing car as part of their course.

The students have been tasked with designing a 2-seat, low-cost hydrogen-powered sports-racing prototype and will use the brand new Radical RXC as an example of best current practice.

The project has been designed in anticipation of a hydrogen economy and with the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) Technology Road Map in mind. The work is supported by Radical Sportscars, Aerocom Metals and several other organisations.

Phil Abbott, Managing Director of Radical Sportscars, said: “We are very pleased to be able to support a project such as this, both to progress the development of future engineers and to investigate new forms of technology, particularly in the field that addresses environmental concerns. We will be watching their progress with interest.”

The project requires close integration between powertrain modelling and new chassis design – linking real data from Radical and Ford Ecoboost engines with new materials and structural improvements. Students are designing and undertaking their own physical tests of materials and current car components to validate their simulations. On top of this the solutions must consider cost and safety and still perform well.

The students will use a Radical RXC during the three month project and benefit from the key facilities at Cranfield such as FIA accredited Cranfield Impact Centre. Throughout the group design project phase the Cranfield students will have access to a number of motorsport practitioners who will run sessions for the students. At the conclusion of the project the four prototypes will run simulated laps of Silverstone National Circuit and the Cadwell Park full circuit with support from Cranfield Motorsport Simulation.

Jack Chilvers, a current student on the course, said: “The conversion of Radical’s RXC sports car to hydrogen fuel provides an incredibly interesting and challenging task. The nature of the RXCs bodywork, which provides the best aerodynamic performance, makes the inclusion of on-board hydrogen stores less than straightforward. Over the coming weeks, I have no doubt that out-of-the-box thinking will have to be employed to provide a successful solution to this project!”

It seems that FORZE from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has some competition in the field of ‘H2 racing’ this summer.

Source: Cranfield University

Tim is co-founder of and works in international motorsport. He found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world's first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.


  1. H2 has been on the rise for quite some time now, an example of an on-going competition is the Shell Eco-marathon.

    I would like to state a significant difference between the Cranfield project and FORZE is that FORZE is using a PEMFC, whilst we (being a member of one of the Cranfield student teams) are utilising Internal Combustion Engines.

    One thing, I assume, everyone is aware of by now, is that sound is a significant contributor to the appeal and charm of racing. Look at the complaints in current F1 for example.

    Possibilities are endless!

    Interested to see what we’ve come up with?
    Consider visiting the Group Design Project Presentation Day.
    More information:

  2. Well to the scientist at Cranfield University it would be a great day for humanity if this racing car can run on water as fuel. There are intensive research at the moment in all laboratories all over the world about using cheap oxide ( mixed valence) to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the racing car is powered by fuel cell then pure hydrogen from water splitting contains no poison ( e.g CO) and pure oxygen is many times more efficient than air because %70 of the air is dormant (Nitrogen).


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