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.