Absence of Hydrogen-Powered Corolla from Super Taikyu Series Suzuka
This is a notification that the #32 ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 Concept (hydrogen-powered Corolla), which was scheduled to participate in the ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2023 Powered by Hankook Round 1 Suzuka to be held on March 18 and 19, 2023, will not be racing.
During a private test run at Fuji International Speedway on March 8, a vehicle fire occurred due to a hydrogen leak from a gaseous hydrogen pipe in the engine compartment. Consequently, we could not recover the vehicle in time and were forced to abandon the race. Instead, we plan to participate with the ORC ROOKIE GR Yaris (gasoline engine).
We apologize for the concern this may cause the many people looking forward to seeing the hydrogen-powered Corolla on the track.
The hydrogen-powered Corolla in the March 8 test run used liquid hydrogen. However, the vehicle fire was not directly caused by the fuel change from gaseous hydrogen to liquid hydrogen. The cause is 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.
It was found that 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.
We will review the piping design that caused the hydrogen leak this time to continue developing safer vehicles.
Together with our colleagues and partners, we will proceed to enter races with the hydrogen-powered Corolla and the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality. It is still one of our goals this year to become the world’s first to race with liquid hydrogen fuel. We ask for your continued understanding and support.