Alpine to make endurance racing return
After clinching an outright victory in 1978, the Alpine brand will make a comeback in the sport after 35 years
Come April 2013, the historic Alpine brand would make its comeback in endurance racing, Renault has now confirmed. The French carmaker will provide an Alpine chassis developed together with its partner Caterham and will be powered by a 500bhp Nissan engine. The brand would return to the sport after a 35 year-long hiatus.
The 2013 season won’t witness a full works team as Alpine has joined forces with Signatech, and it will see the Philippe Sinault-run team enter the series with an Alpine LMP2 prototype driven by Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues. The team would take part in the five rounds of the 2013 European Le Mans series, including the opening round at Silverstone on April 13. The main highlight for Alpine would be a comeback in the iconic Le Mans-24 Hour in June this year.
Renault believes, the move will help them keep the Alpine brand in the spotlight and would further help build their brand before the launch of their first new car in 2016, under the Alpine marque.
For those who didn’t know, Alpine contested the famous 24-Hour race 11 times between 1963 and 1978, running a total of 55 factory cars. In addition to its successes in the ‘Energy Index’ classification in 1964, 1965 and 1968, as well as in the ‘Performance Index’ classification in 1968 and 1969, its efforts harvested seven class wins in total and, above all, outright victory in 1978 with the Alpine A442B prototype shared by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi.
The new LMP2 prototype car and the third driver to join the team would be unveiled on March 24.