oyota Motor Corporation has withdrawn its GR Corolla H2 Concept (hydrogen-powered Corolla) from the upcoming ENEOS Super Taikyu, a Japanese racing series.
Powered by Hankook Round 1 Suzuka, the race holds on March 18 and 19, 2023.
In a notification on Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corporation attributed the decision to fire occurrence caused by a leak from a gaseous hydrogen pipe in the engine compartment.
“During a private test run at Fuji International Speedway on March 8,” it explained, “a vehicle fire occurred due to a hydrogen leak from a gaseous hydrogen pipe in the engine compartment. Consequently, we could not recover the vehicle in time and were forced to abandon the race. Instead, we plan to participate with the ORC ROOKIE GR Yaris (gasoline engine).
“We apologize for the concern this may cause the many people looking forward to seeing the hydrogen-powered Corolla on the track.”
According to Toyota, the hydrogen-powered Corolla in the March 8 test run used liquid hydrogen.
“However,” it recalled, “the vehicle fire was not directly caused by the fuel change from gaseous hydrogen to liquid hydrogen. The cause is seen to be the loosening of a piping joint from vehicle vibration, resulting in a hydrogen leak. As the piping joint is located near the engine, the leaked hydrogen ignited when heated.
“It was found that the hydrogen leak sensor fail-safe functioned properly so that the hydrogen supply was shut off, avoiding a significant spread of the fire. As a result, the cabin was protected, and the safety measures for the occupants were confirmed.”
To this end, the automaker promised to review the piping design that caused the hydrogen leak this time to continue developing safer vehicles.
“Together with our colleagues and partners, we will proceed to enter races with the hydrogen-powered Corolla and the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality,” it assured, adding, “it is still one of our goals this year to become the world’s first to race with liquid hydrogen fuel. We ask for your continued understanding and support.”
Formerly known as the Super N1 Taikyu Series prior to 2005 and N1 Endurance Series prior to 1995, Eneos Super Taikyu Series Powered by Hankook for sponsorship reasons, is a Japanese racing series that began in 1991.
In contrast to the Super GT Series, the Super Taikyu Series is a pro-am racing series for commercially available racing vehicles such as GT3, GT4, and TCR cars, and minimally-modified production vehicles mainly from the Japanese domestic market.
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