The news which some fans may have been waiting for has appeared in the Le Mans local news paper today. The Le Maine Libre is reporting that Audi will return to Le Mans with a hydrogen powered car.
The article says that Audi is secretly working on a hydrogen-powered racing car project to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans by 2024.
Like Formula E, which allows electric car manufacturers to compete on the track as well as on the road, the Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans should become the playground of those who embark on hydrogen.
After diesel, then hybrid technology, the hydrogen fuel cell is the next target, with a category specifically dedicated to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024, for a zero-emission competition.
Like many other technologies launched and tested at Le Mans in the past, this challenge will accelerate the research and development of this mode of energy, from the track to the road.
For having been the first manufacturer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel engine and with a hybrid engine, Audi is already working on the design of a prototype with a hydrogen engine for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024.
According to good sources, the project would be at an "advanced" stage and could lead to a return of the brand around 2022.
In June this year the ACO said that "a working group is already in place and includes various parties with an interest in the subject. Seven automotive multinationals (major manufacturers and parts makers) actively developing this technology are involved in setting down the conditions required for the creation of this class, and in demonstrating the relevance and efficiency of this new engine technology".
Could this be an indication of one of those manufacturers becoming known?