The performance of the Forze VIII is so good, that the Delft student team behind this hydrogen-powered racing car have set their sights on a ninth version of their racing car. The Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing student team has been working on this for over 12 years and has built eight cars during that time. The team’s mission is to promote hydrogen technology. “We’re building an inspiring model, a racing car, and using it to showcase the potential of hydrogen technology,” says team captain Zhi Wei Cai. ” Over the past two years, that model has been the Forze VIII, and we have gotten the most out of it for now. Designing, building and testing the new hydrogen racer, the Forze IX, is the next challenge for our team.”
The latest push for these new steps came last weekend, when Forze VIII was the first hydrogen racing car ever to win a podium place in an official race. The pink racing car from Delft finished second at the Supercar Challenge on the TT Circuit in Assen. The team defeated all but one of its 8 rivals in its competition, all of these were conventional petrol-driven racing cars. In total, the field consisted of 43 cars, with Forze as the only hydrogen-driven.
“We are extremely proud of our performance,” says Cai. “Never before has a hydrogen-powered vehicle beaten other cars in an official race – least of all in a race against these kinds of petrol-driven cars. We’ve worked hard for this podium finish not just this year, but for the past 12 years. To be the first student team in the world to achieve this global premiere is incredible.
In mid-July, the car also took on petrol cars in the Supercar Challenge twice, then at the Zandvoort circuit. The first race wasn’t completed due to technical problems, the second race went more smoothly. After having set the fastest lap time, however, the car actually stalled for a brief period and the accumulated time lag could not be made up.
Cai: “After Zandvoort, we knew we had the speed. The greatest challenge for that weekend was being able to maintain that speed for an entire race. That’s why we gave all we could last month to get the most out of the racing car. Not without results, we finally secured a place on the podium in this race.”
From 0 to 100 in 4 seconds
The student-built Forze VIII is a hydrogen-electric car. Just like a battery-electric car, the wheels are driven by electric motors that run on electricity. With the hydrogen car, the electricity is produced in the fuel cell while driving, by combining hydrogen from the tank with oxygen from outside air. The only emission released is water. The car can be refueled within three minutes.
The pink racing car is not technically similar to the petrol-driven competition, but when it comes to performance, the car comes close to that of the Porsches and BMWs which both take an active part in the race, says the team manager proudly. “The Forze VIII accelerates to 100 km/h within 4 seconds and reaches speeds in excess of 210 km/h. The maximum torque the engines can deliver is 780 Nm. This is the same ‘torque’ as a 10cm long wrench with a weight of 780 kg at the end. In comparison, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, one of the fastest models from the Italian sports car manufacturer, gets stuck at 718 Nm.”