A joint bid from Red Bull Advanced Technologies and ORECA has been awarded the tender to develop a chassis for the future hydrogen category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced on Monday that RBAT and ORECA will work together to create the base for a hydrogen-powered prototype that will be eligible for its own racing class starting from the 2024 edition of the French endurance classic.
The project brings together the endurance experience of LMP constructor ORECA, and RBAT which is known for its work on race car design, aerodynamics, simulation and other research areas.
The partnership’s first task is to conduct a feasibility study for a hydrogen car concept.
RBAT and ORECA will work alongside Plastic Omnium, which is providing the hydrogen fuel tank for the new formula.
“This partnership confirms that the ACO has made the right decisions for the future of motorsport and underscores our ambition for zero-carbon racing for future generations,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“We’re delighted to welcome ORECA and Red Bull Advanced Technologies alongside Plastic Omnium, producer of the hydrogen class fuel tank.
“Having these top-flight automotive firms on board is likely to draw even more interest from car manufacturers, especially those who regularly contribute to our hydrogen working group.
“We are living in difficult times but the ACO is resolutely pursuing its route towards zero-carbon racing and mobility.”
RBAT has been involved in several notable engineering projects, including the development of sister organization Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 cars, the Aston Martin Valkyrie production hypercar and the protective aeroscreen for the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I am delighted that Red Bull Advanced Technologies have been chosen by the ACO along with our partners ORECA to develop the concept of a hydrogen-powered endurance racing car for Le Mans,” said company CEO Christian Horner.
“Red Bull Advanced Technologies are well qualified to take on the challenge set by the ACO having access to many of the tools used to design and develop the Red Bull Racing F1 car, along with significant experience on other cutting edge vehicle programs.
“The Hydrogen class at Le Mans offers an exciting glimpse into the future of sustainable motorsport and promises both to advance the use of hydrogen in transportation, and will also deliver exciting racing.”
ORECA’s involvement brings the most widespread of the four designated LMP2 chassis constructors on board.
The French company’s President, Hugues de Chaunac, commented that “collaboration is vital” for projects like the ACO’s hydrogen endurance racing concept.
“We are proud that the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has chosen us to work alongside Red Bull Advanced Technologies on this ambitious, forward-looking project,” he said.
“And we are excited to be working with the other project partners, among them Plastic Omnium and Green GT.
“Collaboration is vital if we are to succeed in introducing a hydrogen class at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“ORECA enjoys challenges and pioneering change and we can fully express our talents in such an engrossing enterprise.
“With the LMH and LMDh classes, endurance racing is entering a fascinating new era. From a technical and sporting point of view, it will have us on the edge of our seats.”
The ACO has championed the potential use of emission-free technology in endurance racing for several years.
Its efforts have focused on the MissionH24 project, which has demonstrated hydrogen power at race events in a car developed around an ADESS LMP3 chassis.
The next stage of the MissionH24 project is to introduce a hydrogen racing category at Le Mans.