Shortly after the opening round of North America’s 2022 endurance racing campaign at Daytona in January, this year’s four-race Asian Le Mans Series took plac...
The electric hydrogen-fueled H24 prototype took part in a race for the first time at Imola, Italy, on Saturday, May 14. Through its subsidiaries Symbio and Michelin, Groupe Michelin is a partner of this exciting project which seeks to see fuel-cell cars compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours on sustainable tires in the near future.
Launched in 2018, the MissionH24 program’s maiden race marked a significant step forward in its bid to take part in the world’s greatest endurance race by 2025.
Following a busy test schedule at circuits and facilities such as Michelin’s R&D base in Ladoux, France, not to mention a calendar of parade laps at selected events like last year’s Le Mans, the prototype got to contest a genuine, 110-minute international race at the weekend as one of the 40 entries for Imola’s round of the 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup.
“Our sole aim was to reach the finish,” observed Jean-Michel Bourèche, H24 Racing’s Team Principal. “With track temperatures in excess of 50°C, the conditions were pretty harsh and we had to overcome several technical challenges, but the race was excellent experience!”
In the hands of Stéphane Richelmi, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped car took the flag after completing 38 race laps and four refueling stops at the bespoke mobile hydrogen station developed by TotalEnergies.
Groupe Michelin is involved in the program as a major partner with Michelin and Symbio, a subsidiary of the group since 2019 that specializes in fuel-cell kits, including the one which converts hydrogen into electricity to power the H24 prototype. Michelin, meanwhile, provides the tires…
The project will eventually see Michelin equip other prototypes like the H24 and fits perfectly with its target of achieving a proportion of 40 percent sustainable raw materials for the tires it manufactures by 2030, with a score of 100 percent in its sights by 2050.
At last year’s Movin’On summit, Michelin introduced its ‘Démonstrateur 46’, a tire that contains 46 percent of recycled and biosourced materials ranging from waste plastic-packaging, to orange peel and sunflower oil. In fact, environmentally-friendly Michelin racing tires of this sort are already a familiar sight in motorcycle racing’s MotoE
Michelin has long seen motorsport as an invaluable laboratory and incubator to innovate, test and sign-off new technologies in a highly competitive arena before carrying them over to its road tires. On four wheels, for example, the Formula E World Championship played a part in the development of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV which today stands out as a benchmark in the high-performance electric vehicle market. This year, MotoE has taken the ratio of sustainable raw materials even higher, to 46 percent (rear tire), while the MissionH24 program is poised to play a pivotal role as Michelin’s forward-thinking VISION plan is rolled out.