Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA

Le Mans organiser predicts multiple hydrogen manufacturers in 24 Hours by 2029

Multiple manufacturers will be competing for victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours with hydrogen-fuelled prototypes by the end of the decade, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has predicted.

GR H2 Racing Concept

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The race organiser is confident that there will be significant take-up of the rules it is putting in place for the carbon-neutral fuel.

According to club president Pierre Fillon, there will be at least one hydrogen prototype on the grid for the centrepiece round of the World Endurance Championship in 2028 and “two or three the year after, or maybe more”.

“We have been working on hydrogen since 2018 and the interest from the manufacturers is real,” Fillon told Motorsport.com.

“Initially we were a little bit alone in our ideas, but now there is momentum.”

The original plan to integrate hydrogen machinery into the Hypercar class called for an introduction this year before a series of one-year delays.

Fillon confirmed that the regulations will be in place for 2027, but he admitted that a prototype running the alternative fuel almost certainly will not arrive until 2028.

Toyota looks most likely to be the first manufacturer to arrive after declaring its intention to contest Le Mans with a car powered by hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine at the launch of the GR HY Concept show car last year.

Alpine is evaluating the same technology for application on both the road and race track and launched the Alpenglow Hy4, which it dubbed a “rolling lab” at last weekend’s Spa WEC round.

Neither manufacturer has laid out a timeline for an arrival at Le Mans with hydrogen, both pointing out that there are currently no regulations in place.

Alpine Alpenglow Hy4

Alpine Alpenglow Hy4

Photo by: Alpine

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe director Rob Leupen stated that having a car ready for 2027 would be “extremely challenging”.

Alpine has yet to commit to a hydrogen race programme, but marque motorsport boss Bruno Famin hinted that it could be ready with a hydrogen challenger by 2027.

“We hope it could be by 2027, but it doesn’t matter if it is ’26, ’27 or ’28,” he told Motorsport.com.

“What matters is that the ACO supported by the FIA are really pushing to have hydrogen technology at Le Mans, and we are very happy with that.”

More manufacturers have shown an interest in hydrogen: there are understood to have been at least eight around the relevant FIA working group.

Fillon said that there is “interest from most of the manufacturers in Hypercar”.

He explained that the forthcoming rules would allow hydrogen fuel-cell machinery, the original intent of the regulations before Toyota showed an interest in using hydrogen in a conventional engine.

“It is not our role to decide what is the best technology,” he said.

Fillon reiterated an intent on the part of the ACO for hydrogen cars to be able to compete for outright victory.

“There is no interest for the manufacturers to come in a hydrogen category,” he explained.

“It will be new technology and it can take one or two years for that to be totally competitive, but the regulations are designed to allow a hydrogen car to win.”

Fillon revealed that there will be a significant announcement at next month’s Le Mans regarding hydrogen.

The ACO will also present its show version of the third-generation of hydrogen fuel-cell prototype developed in a collaborative effort with the Franco-Swiss GreenGT organisation under the MissionH24 banner.

To be known as the H24EVO, the car will begin testing early next year and is scheduled to race like its predecessor in the in the Michelin Le Mans Cup on the European Le Mans Series bill.

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Aston Martin prepared to run two Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercars in WEC 2025
Next article WEC calendar won't expand in 2025

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA