A hydrogen-powered contender will take on the Dakar Rally in 2024.
Former World Rallycross team GCK Motorsport has launched a four-year off-road programme, starting with an all-electric vehicle and culminating in a hydrogen machine.
French freeriding skier and rallycross driver Guerlain Chicherit’s squad has already started testing the new GCK e-BLAST 1. It won’t contest January’s Dakar event in Saudi Arabia, but will test on the same terrain before competing in selected off-road events later in the year.
Based on the Peugeot 3008 DKR chassis that won the world’s most famous rally raid in 2017 and 2018, the e-BLAST 1 is powered by a bespoke electric powertrain and 150kW battery. It generates 340hp and 1000Nm of torque.
While the e-BLAST 1 is competing, GCK Motorsport and sister companies GCK Technology and GCK Energy will work on its hydrogen project.
The hydrogen car will be seen for the first time at the 2022 Dakar. Following a year of testing, the car will tackle some of the sections of the 2023 marathon. The aim is to have a two-car entry for Dakar in 2024, and GCK is also aiming to supply its technology commercially to other teams.
“I’ve been working on bringing together my passions for motorsport and technology with my vision for a sustainable future,” said 2009 FIA Cross-Country World Cup winner Chicherit, who is also a Dakar stage winner.
“Living in the Alps is a daily reminder of the steps we need to take to develop cutting-edge technology and use our existing motorsport projects as a platform to drive a sustainable transformation. I’m super-excited to have brought together forward-thinking specialists in their fields to produce ground-breaking work that will make a difference.
“I can’t wait to see our first phase brought to life at Dakar, a race that means so much to me.”
Eric Boudot, CEO of the Green Corp Konnection company under which GCK Motorsport sits, added: “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 racing and therefore the future of FIA Cross-Country Rallying: 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 and the GCK e-BLAST 1, which is key in our development programme due to the parallels in technological development between both solutions, will enable us to race the first hydrogen-powered car in Dakar in 2024.”
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