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Red Bull and Oreca team up to design hydrogen-powered spec chassis for Le Mans

Red Bull Racing’s technological consultancy arm, Red Bull Advanced Technologies, will design and build a concept chassis for next-generation hydrogen-powered endurance racing cars, in partnership with French constructor Oreca.

The cars will be the spec chassis for the forthcoming hydrogen class at Le Mans, due to be introduced in 2024. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), has been experimenting with hydrogen-powered cars for a number of years, with the MissionH24 car due to debut in the Michelin Le Mans Cup in 2021, with a Le Mans race in the future also in the offing.

Oreca’s strength and knowledge of endurance racing racing, combined with Red Bull Advanced Technologies’ extensive experience in Formula 1 and aerodynamic, vehicle dynamics, simulation technology and energy recovery optimisation was enough to convince the ACO that the collaborative joint bid was the way to go.

Joining Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Oreca will be Plastic Omnium, with the French company securing the contract for exclusive supply of the hydrogen fuel tanks to be used by the cars.

Red Bull Advanced Technologies CEO Christian Horner said: “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. 

“Red Bull Advanced Technologies are well equipped 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 also deliver exciting racing.”

Hugues de Chaunac, Groupe ORECA president added: “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. 

“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.”

Finally, ACO President Pierre Fillon commented: “This exciting announcement confirms the appeal of Mission H24 and offers a promising future for zero-carbon motor racing and hydrogen prototypes.

“Thanks to ORECA, a mainstay of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for many years, and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, a successful motorsport business, the ACO will benefit from extensive endurance racing experience combined with cutting-edge technology to guarantee outstanding performance in its hydrogen class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024. 

“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. 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.”

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