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Renault, Caterham to build sportscars
Our ears are still ringing from the time we got up close and a little too personal with Renault’s shouty, gorgeous A110-50 concept in Monaco (above), but news today is the company has formed a partnership with Caterham to build sportscars.
Two, to be precise, each coming your way in the next three to four years, and each carrying the respective brands’ ‘DNA’. For Renault, that brand is Alpine; the iconic French firm that used Renault engines to power its cars to motorsports victory. It won the world rally championship in 1973, took victory at the Monte Carlo rally in ‘73 and ‘74, and won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1978.
Both cars will be produced at the Alpine factory in Dieppe; a factory that has both historical significance (it was built in 1969 as the home of the Alpine brand), and because of its core business of building sportscars (and also the home of Renaultsport). It means Caterham takes a 50 per cent stake in the ‘Automobiles Alpine Renault’ company, which will be renamed ‘Alpine Caterham’, and headed up by a chap named Bernard Ollivier, himself a former manager of Renaultsport technologies.
Neither Renault or Caterham has confirmed exactly what kind of sportscar they’d build, but from Renault’s side, we can at least expect something a toned-down version of the aforementioned ear-busting A110-50 concept pictured above, itself built in tribute to 50 years since the A110 - the most iconic Alpine ever built - first went on sale.
In Paris today, Renault boss Carlos Tavares said the Alpine model will cost “between 40,000 and 50,000 Euros”, about £35,000.
When we saw that concept in Monaco, Renault sources hinted that should a road-going version ever see the light of day, it’d probably wear a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine rather than the concept’s 400bhp, mid-mounted V6. Also, it’d probably be a lot quieter too. You can decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.
But, as Renault design chief Laurens van der Acker told TG at the time: “Alpine is owned by everyone who loves cars… so I know I can’t screw this one up.”
We’ll bring you more as soon as we find out, but for now, why not have a stab at imagining what the Alpine Caterham cars would look like below…