French rally specialist Guerlain Chicherit has announced he will field a bioethanol-fueled entry at next year’s Dakar Rally, ahead of the debut of a planned hydrogen-powered entry in 2023.
Chicherit, a former FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup Champion, is a passionate advocate for environmental issues within motorsport. With the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, sanctioning the use of bioethanol for Dakar 2022, he was quick to sign-up for the event next January. However, he admits that his 2022 entry is more about bringing him back up to speed with Dakar, while still conforming to his Green Corp Konnection (GCK) team’s recently stated aim of not competing using fossil fuels.
For January’s Dakar, GCK will enter the Thunder, a bioethanol-powered 340bhp, rear-wheel-drive, buggy-style racer; 2023 should see the debut of the e-Blast H2, a car incorporating a high-performance fuel cell developed by GCK in collaboration with global engineering specialist FEV. The team notes it is also working closely with Dakar organizer Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to ensure a greener future for the marathon event.
Chicherit, who will be co-driven on the Dakar by Alex Winocq, said, “I’ve made no secret of my passion for Dakar and my desire to return to racing it. Dakar has underpinned a huge number of decisions of GCK Motorsport over the last few years and everyone who knows me, knows how hard it has been to be patient and wait to come back when the time is right.
“The development program we’ve launched as GCK Motorsport – along with the work we’re doing alongside the ASO in support of reducing the event’s environmental impact – makes me super excited to return. I believe Dakar is the biggest challenge an athlete and a team can possibly face together, and to do so successfully is a long-distance race in itself.
“I’m ready and can’t wait to take on this next challenge.”
Development of both the bioethanol Thunder and e-Blast H2 is set to continue through the coming months. Having already embarked on a test program, GCK Motorsport says it is planning more development running before a possible competitive outing to put Chicherit, Winocq and the Thunder through their paces before the end of the season.