MissionH24 at Le Mans Classic

After the race of the Century, the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023, on June 10 and 11, and the Viva Tech new technologies trade show in Paris last week, MissionH24 will be at Le Mans Classic, the world's largest retrospective race, from June 29 to July 2.

After driving on the legendary 13.6 kilometer racetrack at the 24 Heures du Mans 2023, giving Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister for Sport, Olympic and Paralympic Games, a discovery lap in the LMPH2G, and greeting the tens of thousands of spectators, during the Parade Lap a few minutes before the start of the Centenary edition, MissionH24 then headed for Paris in mid-June, to take part in Viva Tech's Global Sports Week, to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen in motor racing, for decarbonized racing and mobility. The public, present in large numbers (150,000 people over 4 days), has shown its interest in the collaborative program between the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and GreenGT.

From Thursday to July 2, MissionH24 will take part in the legendary Le Mans Classic event. On display with the Group C vehicles (near Maison Blanche), the H24, the first electric-hydrogen racing prototype to have competed at this level of Endurance competition (4 Michelin Le Mans Cup events in 2022), will bear witness to the link between past, present and future: passion, reason, progress, commitment, the four founding pillars of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Akio Toyoda visits MissionH24 in Le Mans

At the Le Mans 24 Hours 2023, hydrogen was a major topic of discussion. MissionH24, the collaborative program between the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and GreenGT to create a class of H2 prototypes for the 2026 Le Mans 24 Hours, has initiated a number of projects developing this technology, which is helping to decarbonize not only racing but mobility more generally.

Among the announcements made during the big week at Le Mans was one from Toyota, made on Friday at the official ACO conference by Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda in person. He presented the GR H2 Racing Concept, intended for the future H2 category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, before taking to the track on Saturday lunchtime, at the wheel of the ORC Rookie GR Corolla H2 concept, a car presented for the first time in France.

Here are the impressions of Akio Toyoda, or Morizo, as the Toyota chairman takes to the track as a driver.13

MissionH24, a high-profile role at the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was a remarkable celebration of the race’s 100 years of history but there was still much focus on the future, notably the quest for zero emissions through hydrogen technology. Highlights included the announcement of the future programme, vehicle presentations, a dedicated hydrogen village, a visit and tour of the circuit by the Minister for Sport, the Olympic & Paralympic Games in a MissionH24 prototype, hydrogen-powered shuttles and more. A special class for vehicles powered by this new energy source is to be introduced at the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans, but hydrogen was already firmly at the forefront this year.

Thousands flock to the H2 Village

Race week attractions at the 24 Hours circuit included a  hydrogen village, promoting themes such as training, transport, manufacturing, storage, uses, energy transformation, education, support for companies in the shift to sustainable mobility, games, fun learning initiatives and, of course, motor racing, fuel cells and internal combustion engines. Thousands of visitors learnt more about this new technology, which is paving the way for zero-emission mobility.

Alongside MissionH24, there was Alpine, Toyota, Ligier Bosch, GCK Solution F, the University of Le Mans, GreenBox, SNCF, Neopolia, the European Commission’s French representation, Watea, Plastic Omnium and the representatives from the Le Mans H2 Symposium (to be held in conjunction with the ACO on 26-27 September). They all shared their know-how and the results of their research and experiments involving hydrogen.

The Toyota GR H2 Racing Concept, the Foenix H2 from Solution F (GT) and the Ligier JS2 RH2 Bosch Engineering (GT) revealed exclusively at Le Mans

In a dedicated Racing area of the village, the MissionH24 LMPH2G was displayed as the flagship of these new programmes and projects. However, a number of other vehicles were also on show, including the Alpine Alpenglow and three others, unveiled for the first time at Le Mans: the Foenix H2 from Solution F (GT), the Ligier JS2 RH2 Bosch Engineering (GT), and the Toyota GR H2 Racing Concept, the Japanese carmaker’s proto for the new H2 class at the 24 Hours, revealed by Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda. Motorsport fans were quick to snap photos of these future racing machines!

The Minister for Sport and the Olympic & Paralympic Games introduced to zero-emission racing

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the French Minister for Sport, the Olympic & Paralympic Games, donned a race suit and helmet on Saturday, just a few hours before the start of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. She then completed a lap of the iconic Le Mans circuit as a passenger alongside Stéphane Richelmi in the LMPH2G, the electric-hydrogen prototype from MissionH24, a programme run jointly by the ACO and GreenGT, in preparation for a H2 class at the 24 Hours. The Minister congratulated the ACO and all the programme’s partners on their mission to achieve zero-emission racing and mobility.

Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, guided the Minister during her visit to Le Mans, introducing her to the President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda. Both the Japanese company and its leader are actively involved in the development of hydrogen for a more sustainable future.

The Minister then met up with Stephane Richelmi once again, this time on the starting grid where the former Le Mans class winner was at the wheel of the H24, an electric-hydrogen prototype with which he competed in – and finished – four out of four Michelin Le Mans Cup events in 2022. LeBron James, starter of the Centenary race, posed for pictures in front of the H24 a few minutes before it set off for a lap of honour in front of more than 300,000 spectators!

What’s next?

A date for your diary: Viva Technology, the annual show devoted to technological innovation and start-ups, at Paris Expo (Porte de Versailles, Paris) from 14-17 June. There, the MissionH24 programme will showcase the future of Endurance and its hydrogen strategy for zero-carbon racing. A LMPH2G electric-hydrogen prototype will be on display.

MissionH24 celebrates the past by leading the way to the future

Racing fans attending the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans will be able to admire three hydrogen-powered vehicles belonging to the pioneering MissionH24 programme at the circuit this week. The programme, a joint venture between the ACO and GreenGT is working towards introducing a hydrogen class at the 2026 24 Hours of Le Mans, to popularise hydrogen as a clean, zero-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, for racing and on the road.

MissionH24 sets up camp in Le Mans on Monday, ready to take part in the fantastic centenary celebrations. Having clocked up 100 years’ experience, race organiser the ACO is not daunted by the prospect of reinventing the future of motoring, with climate change a major influence.

From Tuesday onwards, the three MissionH24 vehicles – two prototypes and a show car – will be on display at the circuit. Project partners Total Energies and Michelin will be hosting one each, and the third will be the focal point of the MissionH24 stand in the H2 Village. This year, a whole village is devoted to hydrogen, proving that MissionH24’s research and development has already been successful in convincing manufacturers to commit to a programme based on the energy. The Village officially opens at 16:00 on Wednesday 7 June.

Displays are great, but cars are meant to be driven. On Saturday, both racing prototypes will take to the track. At 12:23 the LMPH2G will offer a lucky passenger the chance to sample zero-carbon mobility first hand. Who is the mystery passenger? Watch this space for the announcement! 

As for the programme’s latest prototype, the H24 will be taking a lap of honour at 15:42 in the run-up to the start of the race of the century!