24 Hours of Le Mans - A443, the last Renault-Alpine (video)
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24 Hours of Le Mans - A443, the last Renault-Alpine (video)

At the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Renault-Alpine A443 embodied the last generation of prototypes known at that time from Renault in its quest for a victory in La Sarthe against Porsche.

From 1976 to 1978, the 24 Hours of Le Mans was marked by a duel between Porsche and Renault. In 1976 and 77, the German constructor was the first to enter a turbocompressor engine in La Sarthe, while the French marque lead in tandem prepatory tests to enter its 1.5 liter V6 turbo in Formula 1 the following year. It was this engine that powered the Renault-Alpine A442 prototypes in 1976, 77 and 78. Porsche also called upon a six-cylinder architecture laid flat. The A443 was entered in 1978. Boasting the number 1, it was driven by Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Patrick Depailler. Qualified on the first row next to the Porsche 936 of Jacky Ickx and Henri Pescarolo, it lead 12 hours and clocked the best race lap before being forced to retire. It was another Renault-Alpine that won: the A442 B of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. Initially, the cockpit of the A443 was equipped with a plexiglas aerodynamic bubble. It was removed on Jabouille-Depailler's car, but kept on the winning A442 B.

Check out via on-board camera the Renault-Alpine A443 in circuit lap of the 24 Hours, filmed in July this year at the seventh edition of the Le Mans Classic, where it was driven by Alain Serpaggi and Jean Ragnotti. It was entered in Grid 6, reserved for cars that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1972 to 1979. Note that the two Mulsanne Straight chicanes did not yet exist when the A443 raced in the 1978 24 Hours.