Tyre manufacturer Kumho has conceptualised what it believes is the world’s first truly eco-friendly racing car. Inspired by the company’s success in this year’s Le Mans 24 hour race, it’s Epoch design study aims to show exactly what an environmentally-friendly Le Mans car of the future could look like.
Kumho’s single-seater chassis is grown from bamboo, so providing an immediate carbon offset, while its lightweight body panels are formed from recycled tyre tread rubber.
Power comes from Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) units integral to the four-wheel hubs. Proven in the railway industry, this advanced electromagnetic technology has the advantage of zero friction as well as maximum torque at zero rpm.
Not surprisingly, the Epoch also boasts revolutionary tyre technology. Known as EAP (Electro Active Polymer), it allows the tread and even the shape of the tyres to be fundamentally altered simply by passing an electric current through the rubber. This is achieved via the positioning of magnets on the hubs and within the wheel rims. It effectively allows the characteristics of the tyre to be altered at will, to suit different tastes and conditions.
The car’s interior is clad with the type of scented ‘aroma’ rubber already available for the tyres of various luxury saloons and compact SUVs.
Enthusing about his creation, designer Rob Dolton said, “While delighted at winning the LMP2 class at Le Mans this year, we accept that environmental pressures will not allow motorsport to carry on in its current form indefinitely. However, rather than viewing it as an increasingly antisocial pastime, we regard it as a perfect platform for developing green technology solutions. Epoch is an example of just how exciting the future could be.”