BRITISH sports car builder Aston Martin will be celebrating another world first in this, its centenary, year, with its Rapide S hybrid.
The company is ripping up the record books at the 41st ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring next month as the famous British brand is entering a pioneering hybrid hydrogen car in the race.
The record-breaking Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S — based on Aston Martin’s new four-door, four-seat sports car — will become the first hydrogen-powered car to compete in an international event as well as the first zero CO2 emissions sports car to complete a race pace lap at the Nürburgring 24-hour race.
Working in partnership with hydrogen experts Alset Global, Aston Martin’s engineers have developed a prototype twin turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 engine that will power the Nürburgring car.
Capable of running on pure gasoline, pure gaseous hydrogen, or a blend of both, the Hybrid Hydrogen race car showcases Aston Martin’s commitment to engineering innovation.
In pure hydrogen mode, Aston Martin and Alset Global aim to show that a zero CO2 emissions lap of the Nordschleife is possible while emitting virtually only water from the exhaust.
Welcoming the debut of the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S, Aston Martin chief executive officer Dr Ulrich Bez said: “As we celebrate our centenary in 2013 and look back on a century of excitement, innovation and style it’s also the perfect time to look to the future with this astonishing race car.
“Aston Martin has a strong track record of innovation and, with our superb history of competition and testing at the Nürburgring, it is only right that we showcase this amazing new technology at this year’s 24-hour race.”
The Hybrid Hydrogen system comprises a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks and proprietary engine management system. This enables flexibility in the control of the combustion process according to each particular driving situation: Either pure hydrogen, gasoline or a arbitrary blend of both can be selected to ensure optimum power, acceleration and CO2 reduction. This control results in a powerful and dynamic propulsion system that provides sports car performance but with a carbon footprint more akin to that of a supermini.
The Hybrid Hydrogen race car is based on the new Rapide S four-door sports car that is arriving in Aston Martin showrooms worldwide this month. Redesigned and re-engineered to offer even greater style and significantly enhanced performance by virtue of its new AM11 6.0-litre V12 naturally aspirated engine, the new Rapide S is capable of 190 mph and sprints from 0 to 62 mph in only 4.9 seconds.
Aston Martin returns to compete in the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 19-20 for the eight successive year. More than 150 cars will start the fearsome 24-hour race, which runs on the daunting 25km circuit that combines the legendary Nordschleife with the modern Grand Prix track.