Is there anything left to thrill a man who has circled the globe several times (the first ever to do so in a hot air balloon and in a solar plane), who has ridden in a two-seater McLaren F1 and in the Bentley that won the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans, who has driven a Formula E racing car at the Spa circuit in Belgium, just to name a few of his feats?
The answer is yes, as evidenced by the delighted sparkle in Bertrand Piccard's eyes and enthusiastic first impressions after two laps on the Bugatti circuit alongside Emmanuel Collard in the LMPH2G, the hydgrogen racing prototype of Mission H24 initiated by the ACO and GreenGT:
"What you feel in this car is quite impressive, it's all rather brutal...turns, braking, acceleration. I'm used to vertical g-force in planes, but in this car I experienced lateral g-force. I could feel every organ in my body moving," explained the famous Swiss adventurer. "That was the first time I have ridden in a car on the Le Mans track and my first time in a hydrogen racing prototype. I am absolutely thrilled because the future is already here, clean mobility, it exists now and it works. Until very recently, motorsport has been focused on progress in terms of performance levels, and now it has proven to be looking toward low-carbon mobility as well."
"I like the car, I enjoy car racing as it is a fantastic motivator for the public. Also, to witness all these new clean technologies emerging in motorsport, here at Le Mans and at the 24 Hours, is an excellent thing. The second an LMPH2G, or a GreenGT, enters into competition, it will no longer be just about awareness, but also about the desire to follow suit. Let's inspire the public with these new technologies. With this initiative, the ACO and the Le Mans circuit are doing a world of good for humanity. If I could get a guarantee these prototypes will be two-seaters, at the age of 61 I'd enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans myself! Mr. Fillon, when will we see hydrogen racing cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans? 2024? Invite me then. I'm ecstatic, I got to experience a hydrogen racing car and they gave me a bottle of the water emissions that I can drink. Can you believe that?"
The goals of Mission H24, a collaboration between the ACO and GreenGT, are to promote hydrogen in motorsport and to create a class for hydrogen racing cars to take the start at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans that are "capable of aiming for the top step on the podium," underscores Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.
After Episode 3 of the launch of Mission H24, the president of GreenGT Christophe Ricard added: "We want to demonstrate the performance level of hydrogen in a race setting up against other types of energy. The more competitors or others we have who put their faith in hydrogen, the more beneficial it will be."
PHOTOS (Copyright - Dominique Breugnot/ACO)