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March 17, 2023

Toyota's Hydrogen-Powered Race Car Just Burned Down

Toyota learned first hand the dangers of using hydrogen as a fuel when its endurance race car—the #32 ORC Rookie GR Corolla H2 Concept burned down during a private test run.

An advocate for alternative fuels as a means to achieve carbon neutrality, Toyota was forced to pull out its liquid-nitrogen fueled race car out of Round 1 of the Super Taikyu Series because the car caught fire during a March 8 test run.

The hydrogen-powered Corolla in the test run used liquid hydrogen. However, the vehicle fire, according to Toyota, was not directly caused by the fuel change from gaseous hydrogen to liquid hydrogen. The cause was 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.

Thankfully, 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.

Despite this setback, Toyota says they will continue to race with the hydrogen-powered Corolla for the foreseeable future.

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