WEC to move to 100% renewable fuel; hydrogen class delayed

Rainier Ehrhardt/Motorsport Images

WEC to move to 100% renewable fuel; hydrogen class delayed

Le Mans/WEC

WEC to move to 100% renewable fuel; hydrogen class delayed

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TotalEnergies is set to provide 100% renewable fuel for the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours from 2022 onwards. The new fuel, named “Excellium Racing 100,” is produced from bioethanol made from winemaking residues from the French agricultural industry and ETBE (Ethyl Tertio Butyl Ether) produced at a refinery near Lyon, France. Part of a drive by TotalEnergies and the ACO to transition to renewable solutions in motorsport, it will allow for a 65% reduction in CO2 emissions for the cars.

“Our ambition is to be a major player in the energy transition and to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, together with society,” said Patrick Pouyanne, TotalEnergies chairman and CEO. “TotalEnergies is supporting its customers and partners in their evolutions, by thus applying its strategy to motorsport: sustainable liquid fuels, electricity, batteries, hybridization, hydrogen… Advanced biofuels have an undeniable part to play in helping the transport sector to reduce its CO2 emissions immediately.

“This 100% renewable fuel, that will be made available in motor racing as soon as 2022, is a perfect illustration. As we are becoming a broad energy company, the racing track is more than ever an open-air laboratory for TotalEnergies.”

Frederic Lequien, FIA WEC and ELMS CEO added: “It is extremely encouraging that TotalEnergies is paving the way for others and creating a 100% renewable fuel. I firmly believe that the WEC and ELMS are the ideal playground for TotalEnergies in order to trial its new innovative Excellium Racing 100 fuel.

“Endurance racing is the ultimate test for all road-related products and we are delighted that TotalEnergies has chosen our championships and Le Mans to help launch this cutting-edge new creation.”

H24 Racing’s LMPH2G prototype has helped push hydrogen-powered racing development, but plans for a competition class have been delayed. Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, the ACO announced that its proposed Hydrogen category will debut in 2025 rather than 2024.

The new class, set to feature prototypes capable of competing for the overall win at Le Mans running on hydrogen fuel cell power, has been teased by the ACO since 2018. Since then work has been underway behind the scenes to develop the technology via the “Mission H24” program, which has produced an LMP3-based hydrogen fuel cell prototype with partners Michelin, Green GT, Adess, and TotalEnergies.

Two generations of H24 prototype have been developed and the partners report strides being made in performance and reliability. But, without a full manufacturer commitment to 2024, and the technology seemingly not yet ready for a 24-hour marathon at LMH pace, the ACO opted to delay the introduction of the class by a year.

“Mission H24 is an illustration of our commitment to a decarbonized motorsport,” said Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “We have ambitious programs with specialists like Michelin, Total, Red Bull Advanced, ORECA, and are working on the rollout of hydrogen. It’s new technology — it’s no bed of roses and we knew this. Because of COVID we have had delays to our progress, so we have decided to move it back a year.”

 

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