A racing car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has completed laps of the Le Mans circuit for the first time in history.

The Green GT H2 was driven around the French track by former Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis – the project’s development driver – on Thursday during a break on Le Mans 24 Hours qualifying, with further laps scheduled today ahead of the race itself.

The car has been in development for more than five years; it was awarded the ‘Innovative Car’ space on the grid for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours but wasn’t ready in time. However, the appearance of the car at this year’s race is significant because Le Mans organisers have just opened the door for hydrogen-powered prototypes to enter endurance racing in the future.

The Green GT H2 carries its hydrogen fuel in two tanks, one mounted low on each side of the cockpit. Refuelling takes around three minutes, and the car is said to be capable of racing for around 40 minutes on full tanks.

Read More: Autocar