Ground-breaking new hydrogen-powered Hyse-X1 makes solid start in new mission 1000 category at Dakar Rally

The revolutionary new hydrogen-powered HySE-X1 has made a solid start to its ground-breaking Dakar Rally campaign in the new Mission 1000 category for machines of the future.

The HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology) research association entered the car in the Dakar’s Mission 1000 section, which has been introduced as part of the Dakar Future Programme to encourage manufacturers to develop next-generation carbon-neutral powertrain technologies.

American racer Jamie Campbell and his Argentinean co-driver Bruno Jacomy safely completed the Prologue stage of 27.11km near Al-Ula on Friday and then negotiated the perils and challenges of the gruelling opening desert stage, 70km between Al-Ula and Al-Henakiyah on Saturday.

Quotes after Stage 1 on Saturday, January 6th
Jamie Campbell, Driver: « The opening stage was good for us. We needed to manage fuel, so we drove the car 60-68 km/h to manage this. At the end, we actually came out with quite a bit left, so we know we can push a bit harder on some of the longer stages. The car was very good. There were some fast roads, but a lot of rocks and more navigating for Bruno. The car’s performance is good. We have some changes we can make depending upon whether the terrain is hard-packed or sand and we are feeling more comfortable that we can make it through the sand sections. I made a couple of mistakes and Bruno corrected me and we got all the checkpoints. »

Bruno Jacomy, Co-driver: « Day two of racing was an awesome day. It was a rocky piste with some river washaways. We overtook some motorbikes and were opening the road. It was a working day but we succeed. The best of all is that the car worked well with no alarms and no issues. We are happy. »

Keita Nakanishi, Project Leader of HySE Dakar Project: « Following yesterday’s Prologue success, I am very glad that we were able to successfully complete the first real Dakar stage: stage 1, 70km distance.
« From the data obtained from yesterday’s Prologue and the road surface information of today’s stage, I consulted with the driver and co-driver and made a driving plan. I was relieved that they were able to run as planned. I appreciate Jamie and Bruno for their great jobs. We are now back to the bivouac and HySE members will analyse the data obtained today to be ready for tomorrow’s run. Lastly, happy birthday, Bruno! »

Quotes after Prologue on Friday, January 5th
Jamie Campbell, Driver: « For our first Prologue, the car was very good. It could definitely have improvement but we even tested another gear on the way back to the bivouac. We think it will be better in the sand. The performance was good and no problems with navigation and no mistakes. I am privileged to be asked to drive for HySE and to be at the forefront of new technology and help push the future of hydrogen. »

Bruno Jacomy, Co-driver: « It was a really good day for us. It was our first day racing. Jamie made an amazing job driving and we are really happy. For the next days we want to improve but making it to the end is the main goal. Being part of this new technology and to be able to make a stage like the other cars is awesome. We can do better but it’s a great start. No alarms and no problems. »

Keita Nakanishi, Project Leader of HySE Dakar Project: « I was relieved that we were able to complete the Prologue stage. Due to short-term development, that started in August, the schedule was last-minute to see if we could participate in the Dakar Rally. We have been proceeding with development and we successfully sent the HySE-X1 to the start line of the Prologue. I believe we have made a big step by finishing the stage. I want to thank every one of the HySE members, Overdrive staff, drivers and co-drivers and all the people involved in this achievement. We will do our best each day… »

The HySE-X1 SSV is a joint project between the Japanese automotive manufacturers –Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Toyota and Yamaha – and utilises a chassis built by Overdrive Racing, the Belgian car preparation specialist that is running nine Toyota Hiluxes on the Dakar and also supplying logistical support to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.

The chassis has been modified to accommodate a hydrogen fuel tank and fuel supply system that powers a 998cc four-stroke supercharged motorcycle engine being used in research and development. Refuelling and maintenance is being carried out on-event by Overdrive Racing.

Campbell is an off-road veteran with over 30 years’ experience in fabrication, chassis design and driving. He formerly raced off-road bikes in America and has achieved formidable success in major off-road events Stateside, such as the Baja 1000, Baja 500 and Vegas to Reno, in the UTV category and, latterly, in the Pro Stock class.

Tomorrow (Sunday), the Dakar continues its run south through Saudi Arabia with a punishing stage of 463km between Al-Henakiyah and the overnight halt at Al-Duwadimi.