A few days ago, a major turning point was reached for sustainable technology in the racing world. At the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, two hydrogen-powered vehicles offered an exhibition to the audience which marked a new era, where fossil fuels are being left behind.
Behind the scenes was Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the most important automobile organization in France.
Fillon is at the helm of the highly ambitious Mission H24 project, launched in 2019, when the partnership between Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), the Formula 1 team’s technical support, and Oreca, a French chassis and engine builder, was introduced to manufacture the prototypes to be used on the Hydrogen class, starting at Le Mans in 2024.
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The World Endurance Championship also has a new top class this year, called Le Mans Hypercars (LMH) hybrids, where Toyota has already introduced its car for this season; Peugeot announced that will join in 2022, and Ferrari’s triumphant and surprising return, which will be at Le Mans in 2023, after leaving endurance racing for 50 years.
A History-Making Announcement
For the ACO executive, the addition of hydrogen to Le Mans vehicles represents unprecedented news considering the broad public appeal of the Mission H24.
“With Oreca, a legendary participant in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, a company successfully involved into motorsport, ACO brings together the best of endurance and technology to guarantee maximum performance for the hydrogen category in 2024,” added Fillon.
“This collaboration proves the compelling decisions made by ACO regarding the future of motorsport, and underlines our ambition to have a carbon-free racing for future generations,” he pointed out.
Brilliant and Surprising Profile
One side that few know about Pierre Fillon is that he is an ophthalmologist by degree, but all his life has been linked to the world of motorsport. Since 2012, he has been president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, responsible for organizing the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fillon is also a racing driver. Having studied at several French driving schools (including Le Mans), he has been participating in the V Series of the French Federation since 2009.
A motorsport enthusiast in general and cars since childhood, he attended his first 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1966. Since then, he has not missed a single edition of the great event from the international motorsport calendar.
He joined the Automobile Club de l’Ouest in 1995 before becoming Director in December 2003, a Steering Committee member in November 2006, and took over as President on May 31, 2012.
Written by I Jhonattan González