24h Le Mans
“In 2025, a hydrogen-powered car may well challenge the other prototypes”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, took part in the third Hydrogen Symposium held at the Palais des Congrès et de la Culture in Le Mans today (21 September 2021), with “Local Authorities and Hydrogen” as its main theme. At a round-table session on motor racing, the organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans shared a few details on the future hydrogen-electric prototype class to be introduced at the 2025 24 Hours of Le Mans, paving the way for zero-emission endurance racing.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest first announced its hydrogen programme for zero-emission racing and zero-carbon mobility in 2018. Today (21 September 2021), Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, which is actively committed to the deployment of hydrogen, took part in the Hydrogen Symposium held in Le Mans. At a round-table session on car and motorcycle racing, he was joined by Jean-Michel Bouresche, MissionH24 Operations Manager and Team Principal of H24Racing, the joint programme headed by the ACO and GreenGT, Fred Barozier (Pipo Moteurs, which is working on hydrogen combustion engines), Emmanuel Esnault, Managing Director of TEXYS (H2 Motronics), Philippe Croizon (via a video message), a quadri-amputee athlete set to compete in the 2023 Dakar rally in an H2 buggy, Jean-Luc Fleureau (H2X Ecosystems), and this symposium’s keynote speaker, Victorien Erussard, captain of the Energy Observer hydrogen vessel.
Jean-Michel Bouresche analysed the performance of H24, the new H24 Racing prototype, on the track during the Michelin Le Mans Cup test sessions during the Spa round of the European Le Mans Series last weekend. Meanwhile, Pierre Fillon responded to facilitator Laurent Meillaud’s questions to present the future hydrogen-electric prototype class to be introduced at the 2025 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The challenge has already attracted several partners. It will be a one-design class with a single chassis produced by Red Bull Advanced Technologies-Oreca, a powertrain supplied by GreenGT and fuel tanks from Plastic Omnium. Meanwhile, teams that sign up to the class will be free to develop the fuel cell, the potential of which is huge. Pierre Fillon indicated that the chassis of the future racing cars may also be fitted with a hydrogen combustion engine. Refuelling of the hydrogen electric prototypes in 2025 will be ensured by TotalEnergies, while Michelin is currently developing special tyres for this type of vehicle.
At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in August, spectators were able to view a mock-up of a Mission H24 programme prototype, and were unanimous about this future technology.
On the eve of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, a number of personalities from the automotive sector were treated to a demonstration lap on-board the LMPH2G. They included American Jim France, IMSA and Nascar Chairman, and Hisatake Murata, head of Toyota Motorsport.
They were all highly impressed with the car’s performance. “It’s a racing car!” they said, astonished by the progress and potential of this technology, which has sparked real interest among several manufacturers.