French outfit aims to take hydrogen power to cross-country racing

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GCK Motorsport, part of Green Corp Konnection (GCK), has launched an ambitious plan to develop a hydrogen-powered vehicle for cross-country rallying.

Founded by French racing driver, former free-skiing World Champion, entrepreneur and Dakar veteran Guerlain Chicherit, GCK Motorsport (formerly known as GC Kompetition) encompasses GCK’s racing program and is supported by its in-house engineering and technology department, GCK Technology, and its green-energy solutions provider, GCK Energy. Notably, GCK Motorsport says it is committed to switching all of its racing projects to green energy only.

As such, it will compete only in electric motorsport championships from 2021 onward. The GCK e-Blast 1 represents what it says is its first step in promoting the future of cross-country rally, an EV that will ultimately integrate a hydrogen energy store as the program progresses.

The team states that it has produced a bespoke electric powertrain and battery pack for the e-Blast 1, specific to cross-country rallying. This is integrated into the same chassis that won the Dakar Rally in 2018 and produces 250kW. It is coupled to a 150kW/h battery pack, allowing the vehicle to achieve a top speed of 180km/h.

GCK Motorsport will officially launch the e-Blast 1 at the 2021 Dakar Rally and plans to enter a number of events through 2021 in order to refine the design. In parallel, GCK Motorsport notes it will be developing its hydrogen-powered solution with a view to present a hydrogen-powered vehicle in January 2022, before being fully race-ready in 2023-2024. The ultimate aim is to take on the Dakar with a two-car team by 2024; the company will also make the technology available commercially to other teams attempting the long-distance rally.

“We’re really excited to present the GCK e-Blast 1, the first step in what we believe to be the future of long-distance cross-country racing: hydrogen-powered vehicles. Our aim is to create an environmentally friendly rally car, powered only by green energy, that will be able to go the distance. Our investment into hydrogen technology will enable us to race the first hydrogen-powered car in Dakar in 2023/2024”, concluded Eric Boudot, CEO of Green Corp Konnection and GCK Motorsport.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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