24 Hour of Le Mans: Hydrogen in the Pole Position

By June 16, 2019 5   min read  (973 words)

June 16, 2019 |

Hydrogen at Le Mans 2019

Hydrogen was in pole position this Saturday at Le Mans! A few minutes before the start of the 87th edition of the 24 Hours, the LMPH2G, an electric-hydrogen powered competition prototype powered by the ACO and GreenGT as part of their joint venture MissionH24, completed a circuit tour at the invitation. organizers.

It has once again demonstrated how its technology is one of the most promising solutions for the energy transition applied to Endurance mobility and competitions.

For the entire MissionH24 operating team, this new round was an opportunity to gather additional information in order to prepare the introduction of a category reserved for electric-hydrogen vehicles during the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024.

In command of the LMPH2G, this Saturday, was development pilot, Olivier Lombard: 

“The LMPH2G opens the track to prototypes of all brands that will enter in 2024 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the electric-hydrogen category. 

I have already taken the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in my racing career three times, but this departure had a particular flavor: I was starting in virtual pole position, the pole position of hydrogen! This tour was very unusual since I started out alone, with no sound other than those of the electric-hydrogen powertrain and the aerodynamic noises caused by the passage of air on the bodywork – what we never hear with a “normal” motor car, which, at Le Mans, especially in the Hunaudières, takes on a new dimension. MissionH24 had the honor of a lap, for a little more than 3 minutes, the privilege of having exclusive of the most legendary circuit in the world! Nobody in front, nobody in mirrors. A selfish pleasure, but above all a work session. Every kilometer on the Le Mans track is for the development team of a technologically innovative prototype such as the LMPH2G, the opportunity to collect information at all levels: chassis, aerodynamics, and of course electric power train- hydrogen. The two laps made during the Test Day had already provided us with some first lessons on the constraints of this very special track in terms of power management, energy recovery, vibration phenomena, cooling quality, etc. Today, I did not go for a turn at the door, but with a list of parameters to monitor, to work. When I’m driving, I have to optimize each wheel spin and garner information about the car, serve the development program decided by the technical team. At the arrival ? The pleasure of being able to work but the frustration of not having been able to link up a few extra laps to show to 126 million viewers who were receiving the images at that moment, all the current potential of the LMPH2G! “.

For Jean-Michel Bouresche, General Manager of the H24Racing team, responsible for the development of the car’s performance and its commitment to the competition, this demonstration lap was a highlight.

“It was important to show the best endurance teams in the world gathered on this starting grid of the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the MissionH24 project is located in terms of track development. This tour was not intended to showcase the pure performances of the LMPH2G which are in constant progress, but to prove that electric-hydrogen propulsion has become a tangible sporting reality. Since a few weeks, we transform the car laboratory entrusted to us GreenGT, in racing prototype. The first quantified results and what we know about the potential of the LMPH2G show that the margin of progress is particularly important, at all levels: mechanical, aerodynamic, adjustment. Session after meeting, the H24Racing team that has been set up for the MissionH24 project gives meaning to the endurance energy transition. This demonstration tour also had a symbolic value since the LMPH2G displayed for the first time the colors of Total, now a reference partner for the MissionH24 project “.

The Le Mans rendezvous was a new episode in the development of MissionH24 created in September 2018 to prepare the arrival of a category reserved for electric-hydrogen vehicles during the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024.  For Christophe Ricard, President of GreenGT and Co-president of MissionH24 alongside Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the LMPH2G’s tour de piste is a strong act for the future:

“This round of the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit at 14:42 this Saturday expresses the strength and conviction that drive the ACO and GreenGT in their desire to demonstrate the reality of the electric-hydrogen solution. MissionH24, the joint venture that we have formed, bringing our skills and resources equally to each other, enables the Western Automobile Club to work towards the opening of a category dedicated to electric-hydrogen cars. the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024, and GreenGT to perfect its technological skills in the field of high-power electric-hydrogen propulsion for sporting purposes. This community of vision and interests shared by our teams working together, each in charge of its areas of expertise,

A vision fully shared by Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club West:  “With GreenGT, we are convinced for several years of the relevance of hydrogen in competition. The excitement caused by this car on the starting grid of the 87th edition, on the part of the public as many competitors and major players in motorsport, reinforces our objectives. In 2024, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a category will be dedicated to electric-hydrogen prototypes, machines capable of competing with other cars for the victory. This demonstration was particularly important for MissionH24: it demonstrated our commitment to the sporting world, the automotive community and especially the general public.

After this spectacular parenthesis of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the LMPH2G will continue in the coming weeks its performance development program on several European tracks to prepare for its first entry into competition at the end of the 2019 season.


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