We Need to Talk About the GreenGT

On an otherwise thrilling Test Day, and amidst a lot of fanfare and handshaking, we got to see the unveiling of the car that will occupy next year’s 56th pit box. GreenGT, who wanted to be there this year but were beaten by the slightly-too-different Deltawing, showed us their brand new ‘H2’ prototype. There it is on the left.

GreenGT_H2

It’s powered by electricity generated by hydrogen fuel cells, and the fact that they’ve used this relatively new technology to power a prototype racing car should do wonders for Le Mans’ green credentials. Power-wise it generates 400kw; my kettle is rated at 2.2kw which gives the H2 a glorious 180 kettle power. In reality this translates to about 540hp which is a healthy amount of oomph.

But there’s a reason I started with the good bits, and as soon as you saw the picture of it I think you may have figured out where this article is going.

Take a moment to think of all of the most classic cars you can think of. I’m thinking Bugattis, Ferraris and Jaguars. The GT40, the 917, the 956. All of these are amazing cars not only because they were stupidly quick and driven by the legends of the sportscar scene, but because they were sensational to the eye.

GreenGT_H2_Concept_Image

Obviously not every classic is an instant looker, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the point is a great looking or striking car will always be remembered before a boring or ugly one. You can make an exception for those machines that are so outstandingly ugly that they haunt you at night, but thankfully they come around relatively rarely.

And then we come to the H2. Contrary to my previous descriptions on Facebook and Twitter, I now don’t think it’s the ugliest car ever made. It’s definitely grotesque, with its bizarre moustache wing and gaping frogmouth on the top, but after having looked at in disgust for a few days I’ve now come to a different conclusion; it’s just a bit rubbish looking, and that’s far worse.

If a car is supposed to engage the public, it has to interest them. Take the Deltawing; it looks amazing, if not necessarily beautiful, and (most of) the general public have fallen in love with its strange and exciting newness. Its mandate was to display new technologies, and it really looks like it’s doing the job.

Deltawing_studio_full_length

The GreenGT just doesn’t. The 56th pit box doesn’t have as many technical regulations as the classified entries, so they could have gone wild with their design and given us something to get really excited about. They haven’t, they’ve given us a hunchbacked slice of averageness with facial hair.

Obviously a certain amount of the design will be form following function; the massive gaping hole behind the driver is there to cool the mass of fuel cells, for example. There’s also the chance that after a year of development it will look better; maybe they’ll give it an aerodynamic beard to match. But fans are fickle, and unless changes are made or it wows us with blistering speed or an exciting engine whine, it risks being lost in the records as a car that was clever but boring.

The technology is absolutely amazing, there’s no doubt about that. GreenGT have put together a proper electric racer, and the H2 will be a brilliant showcase for what we might be seeing on the cars of the future. But the Deltawing could soon be joining a prestigious list of bizarre cars, sitting next to classics like the Brabham fan Car or the Tyrrell six-wheeler. Will anyone remember the GreenGT H2 in 20 years? I don’t think so.

If you completely disagree with me, or reckon that I’ve hit the nail on the head, sound off in the comments below!