A world first thanks to TotalEnergies’ Excellium Racing 100!
Le Mans, France, June 14th 2022 - This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans provided a world first: for the very first time in the history of the world’s most famous endurance race, all of the cars competing were using Excellium Racing 100, the fully-sustainable biofuel developed and supplied by TotalEnergies.
With this bioethanol-based biofuel, made using wine residues from the French agricultural industry, TotalEnergies – as a committed energy industry player – confirmed once again its ability to innovate. The strategic importance of the race, which combines performance and endurance, was reflected in the presence of TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné at the track. He paid tribute to the work of the company’s technical teams and also acted as official starter, taking on the honour of getting the 2022 edition of this unique race underway. Once Patrick Pouyanné had waved the green flag, the great race lived up to its reputation, providing the huge crowds back at the track with an event full of high and lows, and packed with excitement and action. Starting with the presence, following on from its involvement in the 4 Hours of Imola (ELMS), of the Mission H24 hydrogen fuel cell electric prototype in the Road to Le Mans race, the opening event of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Third last year in the 24-hour race, the Alpine Elf Endurance Team was determined to gate-crash the party again this year, despite being hit with a series of changes to balance of performance that did not necessarily favour its A480… Although Nicolas Lapierre went all out to reach the Hyperpole and claim a superb third place on the starting grid, the race itself would prove to be more complicated. The team had nonetheless prepared well in the previous few days, completing some 137 laps of the famous Le Mans track, equivalent to almost 1,900 kilometres.
However, bad luck plagued the squad throughout the 24 hours… “We’ve rarely experienced such a difficult race,” commented a somewhat despondent Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team Principal. “Everything went awry very quickly, with some fairly unusual issues that we’d never had before. First of all, on the ECU that manages the clutch and then on the ignition coils. We lost twenty-three minutes with these two incidents, so our race was over. Mathieu’s (Vaxivière) accident with the Porsche on Sunday morning was upsetting for all concerned, but it didn’t change the overall outcome.” The Alpine finished twenty-third overall and fifth in the Hypercar class, the team switching its focus quickly to the rest of the FIA World Endurance Championship and determined to come back stronger in the future at the world famous 24-hour race. In the end, Cool Racing finished highest among the Elf-backed teams. Ricky Taylor, Yifei Ye and Niklas Kruetten finished eleventh overall, sufficient to secure a solid seventh position in the LMP2 class. Third in class last year, Panis Racing was unable to reproduce its 2021 form. Despite having to change the engine during the week leading up to the race, the team finished in a promising eighth place in qualifying. Nicolas Jamin, Job Van Uitert and Julien Canal had their sights set on a podium spot when they went off and had to settle for twelfth place in the LMP2 class. Needless to say, the TotalEnergies-backed teams have already started thinking about next year’s edition. 2023 will of course see the world famous race celebrate its centenary at what promises to be even more spectacular event, with the much-anticipated competitive appearance of the Peugeot TotalEnergies team and its impressive 9x8.
Despite the weekend’s setbacks, the Alpine Elf Endurance Team showed genuine strength of character to make it to the finish and secure crucial points. André Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Mathieu Vaxivière therefore remain top of the drivers’ championship whilst Alpine hold onto second in the teams’ standings.