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24h Le Mans
ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY THE 8TH OF MARCH, THE RETURN OF ALPINE TO THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS REVIVES ONE OF THE GREATEST SAGAS IN FRENCH MOTORSPORT.
The A110-50 concept car was introduced at the Monaco Grand Prix, and Alpine was represented at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed (UK) and Le Mans Classic. The entry in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans is a strategy for the long-term revival of the marque, as welcomed by Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, "To restore to France, the sports cars it deserves.”
The choice of the LM P2 class. The team of Philippe Sinault now takes the name Alpine Signatech and enters an evolution of the Oreca 03 chassis, also renamed Alpine and powered by Nissan. That choice was described by Carlos Tavares (Managing Director Operations Renault): "The spirit of David and Goliath has always been that of Alpine and Jean Rédélé, the founder of the brand in 1955, who was able to see the potential of the Renault 4 CV for developing into a race car.”
A new dream for Signatech. Owner of the French team, Philippe Sinault will revive this French legend: "I had a dream, straight out of a Michel Vaillant book. It is also a huge challenge for us with such a legacy, and we will live up to the trust placed in us by Carlos Tavares and Bernard Ollivier. In a context that is known to be difficult, this announcement is a fantastic positive sign for the automotive industry and French motorsport... ". Speaking of Michel Vaillant, Philippe Sinault may not have known that Alpine Renault driver Henri Grandsire at Le Mans from 1964 to 1969, played the part of “Michel Valliant” the fictional racing hero created by Jean Graton in a French television series!
The future of Alpine. About a possible return of the French marque in the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Carlos Tavares does not intend to rush things, "The A110-50 introduced last year will remain a concept. That said, the goal is not to stifle the imagination of employees, but must above all to keep our feet on the ground to ensure the sustainability of Alpine. It is a delicate balance to achieve the dream of sports GT for the 21st century, the price will be consistent with the values of the brand." For the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, Alpine can count on the support of Michelin, the tyre partner of Signatech Alpine "whatever the Alpine Challenge, we will be able to accompany them" concluded Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Director.
Photo : The title of this cartoon by Pierrick Chazeaud reads "Alpine, Back to The Future", Carlos Ghosn, boss of Renault and Nissan, speaks to Philippe Sinault (right), while Carlos Tavarès pushes the 2013 Alpine-Nissan. The speech bubble reads "Carlos & Carlos, Alpine Renault specialists for 50 years, at your service! Take good care of the little thing Mr Sinault". On the trailer you can see the concept A110-50 (below) and the A442 winner of the 24 Hours 1978 (in yellow and black).