Veloqx to make Le Mans return with biofuel Hypercar

Team Veloqx is gearing up for a racing return after nearly 20 years way with a Le Mans Hypercar bearing the Fangio name and powered by a radical biofuel engine.

Veloqx to make Le Mans return with biofuel Hypercar

The British-based squad will end an absence from the tracks dating back to the climax of its successful 2004 campaign with a pair of Audi R8 LMP1 prototypes, which yielded victory in the Sebring 12 Hours and the runner-up spot at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Team founder Sam Li has unveiled plans for a World Endurance Championship challenger to be known as the Veloqx Fangio Hypercar, which will be powered by an engine capable of running on multiple environmentally-friendly fuels.

The plan is for the car to begin racing in 2025, although Li hasn't ruled out an earlier return for the Veloqx name.

Li explained that the time was right to bring back a team that enjoyed great success in a short period: it won the British GT Championship in its maiden season in 2002; the GTS class at Le Mans in 2003 in a joint-venture with Prodrive; and then the Le Mans Endurance Series under the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx banner.

"I was 28 when we stopped at the end of 2004 and I needed to focus on my business in real estate," Li told Autosport.

"I've worked with a manufacturer and been successful, but I wanted to grow the company to the point where I could have more added value technically when I came back.

"I am now committed to trying to win Le Mans under the Veloqx name."

Li has trademarked the Fangio name of five-time Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel in the motorsport and automotive realms.

He said that the name "symbolises the best" and that he hoped "Mr Fangio would be proud of our projects".

At the heart of Li's return to racing as a constructor is what the organisations is describing as the "Veloqx variable zero-emission fuel combustion engine".

The powerplant has been conceived to run on a variety of biofuels, including green hydrogen.

"We want to use endurance racing and the platform provided by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest [the Le Mans organiser and WEC promoter] to validate this technology," explained Li, who is an engineer by education.

"We want to have multiple teams running our LMH against each other on a variety of fuels.

 

"We believe that different oil companies in different jurisdictions will have different solutions for a zero-emissions fuel format."

Li explained that his vision will most likely have to wait until 2025 before becoming a reality.

This is because the WEC has extended its deal with TotalEnergies for an exclusive supply of fuel for another three seasons, which will encompass a switch to a biofuel for next year.

But Li admitted that the Fangio could potentially race in 2024 on Total fuel.

Veloqx is already working with former Audi Sport engine boss Ulrich Baretzky, whose powerplants won Le Mans 14 times, on the new engine concept.

PLUS: The legacy of Audi's engine architect

Baretzky, who retired from Audi last year, said: "Sam and I are thinking along the same lines.

"What we are talking about is important to guarantee the future of motorsport by keeping it attractive."

Li said he will be recruiting an "industry leader" to head up the project technically.

The reborn Veloqx squad will be based in the same workshops in Brackley from which the Audis and the Ferraris 360 GT2s it fielded in the 2003 FIA GT Championship were run.

The racing project is allied to Li's latest real estate venture, a not-for-profit biomass generation scheme using only brownfield land to produce the raw materials for environmentally-friendly fuels as well as generating carbon credits.

He explained that this would be used to provide a carbon offset so that any future Veloqx projects have a "net zero carbon footprint".

Veloqx already has a car up and running that Li explained will serve as an initial prototype for both the LMH and a planned low-volume road car.

This car (pictured), which has tested at the Bahrain International Circuit, is powered by a Ferrari V12 engine, Li revealed.

Li hasn't ruled out a Veloqx return before 2024 or '25 and suggested that it could be back on the grid as early as next year.

He revealed he is talking to a manufacturer about running a road-based LMH contender in the WEC under the banner of a carbon neutral footprint racing, but was unable to reveal further details.

shares
comments

Related video

Blomqvist 'would have been happier to lose by more' in late Le Mans LMP2 drama

Previous article

Blomqvist 'would have been happier to lose by more' in late Le Mans LMP2 drama

Next article

Alonso: Racing F1 cars at Le Mans "could be fun" with track changes

Alonso: Racing F1 cars at Le Mans "could be fun" with track changes
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far Plus

10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Autosport picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class Plus

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Plus

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021