A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has competed against conventional fueled cars for the first time. During the Gamma Racing Day event at TT Circuit Assen the student-built Forze VII set competitive lap times in its class and finished the race.

The track-ready hydrogen fuel cell powered racer has been designed and built by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The seventh generation of the vehicle has a peak power of 190kW (258 hp), which was enough to meet the performance of its gasoline counterparts in the Dutch Supercar Challenge. The LMP3 monocoque by Adess made sure that the vehicle was safe enough to allow side-by-side racing.

“It’s unbelievable. It was a world’s first, the first time an electric car participating in a race for conventional fueled vehicles. And a group of students made it possible. It’s bizarre,” team manager Mats Dirkszwager told ElectricAutosport.com just after the car was parked in parc ferme.

“We made a bit of a difficult start [from pit lane] but when we left we drove super competitive lap times, made the mandatory pitstop and went back out again. Everything went perfectly and all systems performed well. Actually, I couldn’t dream of a better running,” Dirkzwager continued.

Total dedication
The excitement among team members and guests was enormous. Not only because they would witness a world’s first, but also because they worked with so much dedication.

“Every year there is a new board of ten fulltimers and a lot of part-time workers. I think a team of 30 worked 70 hours per week, for a couple of years,” driver Leo van der Eijk told ElectricAutosport.com.

“We worked day and night to get here, many sleepless nights, ended relationships, you name it. We worked with so much dedication because we all had the same goal and that was letting the car run in this event.”

To be continued…
A new board will take over the project in September to finalise the strategy for the upcoming year. It seems a formality that Forze VII will be seen in multiple races in 2018.

“I can’t confirm anything at this stage as the new board should take the decisions. But I do believe that this is a solid championship in which we can measure our performance with our rivals,” Dirkzwager.

“Looking at today’s lap times, we should be gunning for podium positions next year.”

Photos by Worcflow – visuele marketing

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Tim is co-founder of ElectricAutosport.com 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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Good work, but search for ELMOFO. Achieved the same thing in 2014, but beat the conventionally fuelled rivals.

    • Hi Brett, they have indeed!
      What’s distinguishing with the Forze VII is that this student-built vehicle is powered by hydrogen fuel cell, which is different than the battery-electric ELMFO. We haven’t seen a fully-electric hydrogen fuel cell car side-by-side competing against ‘normal’ rivals, until last weekend.

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