BMW Motorsport is exploring the possibility of incorporating hydrogen technology into its motorsport endeavors, but with a twist. While the concept of hydrogen racing is gaining traction, BMW takes a firm stance on using fuel cell technology instead of hydrogen combustion engines.

According to Sportscar365, Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M, highlighted the company’s reservations about hydrogen combustion engines in a recent interview. He believes such engines still produce emissions, defeating the purpose of a clean racing solution. “If there’s a solution in hydrogen racing, what we do not want to do is to make combustion engines with hydrogen,because then you still have emissions,” van Meel stated for the magazine.

This approach puts BMW at odds with competitors like Toyota and Alpine who have showcased hydrogen combustion engine concepts. The organization spearheading hydrogen racing efforts, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), is open to both technologies. Their current prototypes, the LMP3-based H24 and the H24EVO, utilize fuel cells.

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen Pilot

Of course, fuel cell racing cars align with BMW’s future car plans. Currently, BMW is testing a global fleet of iX5 Hydrogen SUVs. Last year, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said that the next automotive trend will revolve around hydrogen cars. “After the electric car, which has been going on for about 10 years and scaling up rapidly, the next trend will be hydrogen,” he says. “When it’s more scalable, hydrogen will be the hippest thing to drive.”

Van Meel does acknowledge that he won’t rule out a hydrogen racing series. “Of course, we also look into racing about the possibilities but also the challenges that there are,” van Meel said. “Because we need to make sure that we are still focused on what we do.”

While hydrogen racing presents challenges, particularly bulky fuel tanks that might not fit current racing car designs,BMW remains engaged in the conversation. They acknowledge the potential of hydrogen alongside their continued investment in electric racing and electric vehicles for series production.

According to sources, BMW is already working on the next generation of fuel cell hydrogen cars which could be showcased in the future on the Neue Klasse architecture. So it’s likely we won’t see a fuel cell-based BMW racing car until the technology has matured enough.

[Source: Sportscar365]