Hydrogen power could make its big comeback – interestingly enough, in motorsport. With the “HYRAZE League” (HYdrogen RAcing Zero Emission), a racing series is to start in 2023 that relies entirely on hydrogen. The company behind the project is HWA AG, which was responsible for Mercedes-Benz’s DTM entries until 2018.
And with the “Automobile Club de l’Quest” (ACO), another major player is venturing into fuel cell motorsport. The organizer of the legendary 24-hour race at Le Mans wants to have its own hydrogen class compete in the motorsport marathon on the Sarthe in 2024.
Therefore, the ACO has teamed up with the technology and motorsport company GreenGT, which began developing a fuel cell race car back in 2012. Together with the petroleum company Total and the tire manufacturer Michelin, the makers are fine-tuning the new Le Mans prototype class under the name “Mission H24”.
The first Le Mans Prototype (LMP) with a fuel cell was presented in 2018 as “LMP H2G”. In 2014, the H2 developed by GreenGT reeled off its first test kilometers. In September 2020, Mission H24 presented the new prototype “H24” in the supporting program of the 24-hour race – according to the company, “technologically advanced and faster than the current LMP H2G”.
The new “hydrogen category” is scheduled to be introduced at both the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Endurance Championship (WEC). According to Bernard Niclot, Innovation Manager at Mission H24 and formerly Technical Director at the FIA, the fuel cell racers will not compete in their own series. Rather, they will start together with LMP1, LMP2 and LMGTE.
Images: Mission H24