Baja 1000, or Mad Max? Traversing the deserts of Mexico, or the wasteland in Girls’ Last Tour? Piloted by premier off-road racers, or the human resistance from Terminator?
Unless total societal collapse occurs within the next ten months, signs point towards the first option in each of these scenarios for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus‘ newest creation: the Glickenhaus 010 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Boot Zero-Emission. This radical vehicle uses the company’s existing SCG Boot off-road car as a base but with the premise of operating using hydrogen, which is prominently indicated by the large fuel tank at the rear, and intends to début at the 2022 SCORE International Baja 1000 next November.
With alternative fuel sources and electric vehicles becoming the new trend in motorsport, hydrogen is regarded as an appealing option for some as it only emits water vapour when burned. Fuel cells are preferred over internal combustion engines because hydrogen fuel is simply generated from water and solar power via electrolysis, and its lower energy means a far greater amount of it is necessary for combustion.
Hydrogen-centric fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are already available for consumer purchase such as the Toyota Mirai, which has been in production since 2014. In May, the Japanese manufacturer and Rookie Racing fielded a Corolla Sport in the Fuji 24 Hours that sported a turbocharged, three-cylinder engine dependent on hydrogen, and it completed 358 laps (the overall race winner had twice as much) without much issue for the power source. In the off-road world, Extreme E cars are charged by hydrogen generators developed by AFC Energy, while GCK Motorsport intends to run the hydrogen-celled e-Blast H2 at the 2023 Dakar Rally.
In January, SCG owner James Glickenhaus posted a render of the SCG 009, a futuristic car that would use liquid hydrogen and be capable of travelling from New York to Los Angeles (a highly unlikely endeavour in the present, but it is impossible to know what could change in the future). Liquid hydrogen is typically used in rocketry, though not for fuel cells as it would require cryogenic storage at especially low temperatures. Since 2020, Glickenhaus has challenged EV manufacturers like Tesla, who is aiming to début the Cybertruck in 2022, and Ford, whose Lightning is also set for release next year, to enter the 2023 Baja 1000 or Dakar Rally, though these calls have yet to be accepted.
The HFC Boot places the fuel cell at the rear in the form of a giant tank that stores liquid hydrogen at –252.87° C (–423.17° F). While certainly an unusual image that looks more like a vulnerable weak spot to target in a first-person shooter, SCG asserts the tank’s size does not impact the car’s weight distribution; the Boot will be about 5,500 lbs (2,494.75 kg). The amount of fuel that the tank holds was not immediately given, though the current goal is for it to last approximately 600 miles. Glickenhaus explained in a Race-DeZert forum post that the team is working on refuelling methods with the plan to eventually produce their own cryogenic hydrogen, but they will rely on commercially available hydrogen in the meantime, and that oxygen generation is also a possibility.
“When Apocalypse Now becomes Apocalypse NOW,” quipped SCG on social media, “The Glickenhaus Hydrogen Fuel Cell Boot is what you want as you can distill Hydrogen from water using solar energy…”
The idea began as a sketch by Glickenhaus’ son Jesse Cameron-Glickenhaus, which evolved into the SCG 010 Zero pickup truck with the tank situated behind the driver but not in the bed. The Zero acquired the “Boot” moniker as a nod to the pre-existing SCG Boot buggy. The company intends to sell race ready and road legal versions, and the former could potentially see racing action at a future Baja event.
Inspired by the famed Chevrolet-based Baja Boot of Steve McQueen, the SCG Boot claimed the 2019 and 2020 Baja 1000 Class 2 crowns with Darren Skilton and Viry Felix behind the wheel. For the 2021 race, the Boot was in Class 1 and finished seventh, the final entry in the division to complete all 1,226.35 miles; Skilton and Felix were joined in the effort by two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, who drives for Glickenhaus’ Hypercar team in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The 2022 Baja 1000 is scheduled for 15–20 November.