French startup plans to launch biomethane car at Le Mans 2023

April 24, 2020. A French automobile start-up has declared its intentions to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in three years’ time with a hypercar that runs on biomethane fuel.

The race car concept dubbed ‘1789’ has been conceived by Vision Automobiles Paris but includes input from a network of partners around France including the research and technology arm of former Le Mans participant Welter Racing.

Thomas Castex, who co-founded the project with Florian Gravouil, explained that the aim is to showcase both the biofuel technology and the capabilities of French engineering.

The company aims to be on the grid at Le Mans in 2023 under the Garage 56 program, which enables innovative cars outside the normal technical regulations to enter.

Liquid biomethane fuel will be used in the competition version of the 1789, while there are also plans to produce a road-legal car that will run on a gaseous biomethane mix.

“The first objective of this project is to produce an exceptional car, like the Aston Martin Valkyrie or a Pagani, but we want it to be born at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s not just to produce a road-legal car, because everybody wants to make sports cars, but for me it’s essential to first produce something that’s efficient on the track.”

The car is likely to be powered by a twin-turbo V6 or V8 engine coupled with an electric motor to create a total output of 1,000 horsepower. Welter is responsible for integrating the biomethane fuel system, while Faster Racing is building the prototype chassis and Michelin has also come on board as a partner.

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