ACO and GreenGT launched its new hydrogen-powered race car at a track demonstration at Spa, Belgium, on Saturday (22nd September).
The prototype (LMP3) car – still in an experimental phase – was driven around the iconic track, including a refuelling pit-stop, by four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and former F1 driver Yannick Dalmas.
It was a significant step forward for ACO and GreenGT’s Mission H24, whose goal is for the car to compete at Le Mans, the 24-hour race in France, in 2024 when a special hydrogen class will be created for a zero-emission race.
“Last June at the 86th Le Mans 24 Hours, we announced our intention to create a hydrogen class for Le Mans 2024,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“Things are now starting to happen. We believe in hydrogen, just like we believed in hybrid technology and the introduction of a limited energy allocation.
“Today, hybrid cars are driven on public roads across the world. Research is an ongoing concern for us as the organisers of the 24 Hours, and encompasses the fields of safety, performance, lower fuel consumption and environmental protection.
“At the ACO, we have always worked alongside manufacturers and other stakeholders in the automotive sector, and we see Mission H24 as a genuine commitment to future mobility. With assistance from Green GT, we will rise to this new challenge and will keep you regularly updated, at every step of the way to our ultimate goal in 2024.”
The H24 car uses ‘green’ hydrogen which is produced using a carbon-free process from the fermenting of bioresources such as biomass, waste or methane. It has a fuel tank capacity of 8.6kg of hydrogen and a 2.4 kWh capacity. Hydrogen gas is contained in sealed tanks at 700-bar pressure.
Molecules of dihydrogen (H2 stored in the tanks) and oxygen atoms combine to form water molecules (H2O). This reaction produces heat and electricity, which powers the car’s electric motor. The only emission is water.
“We have been convinced about the potential of hydrogen for several years now and have developed sound experience and recognised expertise in the field,” said Jean-Michel Bouresche, CEO of Green GT Technologies.
“Speeding up the research process via motorsport is a challenge that we are enthusiastically – but realistically – ready to accept.”
The European Commission’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, was also present for the demonstration in Spa.
“We need to make available zero-emission modes of transportation for a sustainable future and to develop new solutions,” said Hololei.
“These are real challenges. I would like to congratulate and encourage ambitious people and projects like MissionH24.”
Mission H24 will be at Mondial Tech, a transport and technology show, in Paris on 5th October. Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, will speak in as a “Grand Témoin” during tthe day devoted to electrification and hybridization. He will speak about the Mission H24 targets in front of a exhibited hydrogen racing car (GreenGT LMPH2G).