The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and GreenGT have come together to form H24 Racing team with the push towards hydrogen-powered cars continue on.
During the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours race, the ACO presented the case for not only hydrogen-powered cars but also a separate category in the FIA World Endurance Championship for them to enter and compete.
The plan is still for the cars to be able to run in 2024, especially in Le Mans. The first-ever hydrogen-powered LMP3 prototype car made its track debut at Spa-Francorchamps in September last year, driven by four-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas.
As the work on the car as well as the formation of the category continues on behind the scenes, the ACO and GreenGT decided to form a racing team which will run the cars in future, with the inception of H24 Racing.
ACO’s President, Pierre Fillon said: “A new team spells excitement, enthusiasm, expectancy and promise. I have to admit a sense of fulfilment in announcing the arrival of H24Racing. With this team, we are making our project real.
“GreenGT’s accomplishments in research, development and implementation in fuel cell technology are unprecedented. Last September, the ACO and GreenGT launched MissionH24, to promote hydrogen power and zero-emission solutions and draw attention to how fast this energy is progressing.
“The aura of Le Mans will help raise the profile of the technology. H24Racing is the result of the ACO-GreenGT partnership. With this team, our joint venture becomes a truly sporting endeavour with a tangible demonstration of our intentions.
“We’ll be putting our new technology to the test, on track, pitting it against other fuels and power trains. The realisation that 2024 is just around the corner and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will soon have a hydrogen car on the grid is particularly gratifying.
“But, make no mistake, we are well aware that this is just the beginning of an immense challenge. Today H24 Racing is setting out on a long journey.” It remains to be seen what next steps the ACO and the GreenGT take to make the category a reality.
Meanwhile, GreenGT’s president, Christophe Ricard added: “As president of GreenGT, my role is to define our game plan. We engineer high-power electric-hydrogen powertrains, an alternative to more traditional locomotion technology.
“With the sudden interest in hydrogen, we saw that our “high-power” approach needed to become “high-density power” given that it was no longer a question of kilowatts per motorised unit, but more a question of optimising the balance between weight, bulk and power.
“What better way to demonstrate this technology than on a racing track! That’s why GreenGT joined the ACO in this new endeavour, which combines endurance and sustainable performance, technology and emotion.
“I would particularly like to thank the ACO and its president Pierre Fillon who has believed in GreenGT since our project was still in its infancy, who saw that we could rise to this challenge and gave us this unrivalled testing ground.”
At the same time, the WEC and ELMS series’ CEO Gerard Neveu said: “Endurance racing broke the mould in 2012, when the FIA World Endurance Championship first included hybrid prototypes.
“This discipline is a pioneer. Today with MissionH24 and H24Racing, the ACO and GreenGT bring hydrogen to the sporting world, and our series and championships take on a whole new dimension.
“They are the testing ground, the launch pad for MissionH24, the way towards the introduction of hydrogen-powered cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024. Today, we are racing to the future.”
And finally, the new team H24 Racing GM Jean-Michel Bouresche added: “Le Mans 2024 is just five seasons away. Five seasons in which H24Racing will be racing over mid and long distances, putting the LMPH2G and its electric-hydrogen technology through its paces.
“Fitted with GreenGT’s high-power electric-hydrogen energy module, the car is entering the second stage of development now that the technical configuration has been defined. From now on, we are looking for performance, speed and endurance.
“The third stage, which begins later this year, is the competition phase where the LMPH2G takes on its first opponents under the new H24Racing banner. We shall be writing the future of the automotive world.”