For the seventh edition of the Le Mans Classic, Renault Classic enters three factory Alpines which will be driven by Alpine M65: Piotr Frankowski/Richard Meaden (Alpine M65), Alpine-Renault A110 1300S: Jean-Pierre Prévost/Christian Chambord (Alpine A110 1300 S) and Jean Ragnotti/Alain Serpaggi (Renault Alpine A443).
Grid 4 (for models dating from 1962 until 1965): Alpine M65 - It was one of the two M65s that appeared at Le Mans in 1965, in the hands of Mauro Bianchi and Henri Grandsire. The same chassis, after conversion into an Alpine A210, also raced in 1966 in the hands of Pauli Toivonen/Bengt Jansson. For this year’s Le Mans Classic, this historical Alpine has been entered for two journalists: Poland’s Piotr Frankowski and Britain’s Richard Meaden.
Grid 5 (1966-1971): Alpine-Renault A110 1300S - The famous Berlinette is undoubtedly one of the iconic cars of the second half of the 1960s. The 115hp Alpine A110 1300S entered for Le Mans Classic belongs to Jean-Pierre Prévost, a collector of Alpines. He will share the car with fellow fan Christian Chambord who owns several Alpine A110s. Several Alpine A110s competed Le Mans in 1965 (one 1100cc) and in 1968 (two 1300cc).
Grid 6 (1972-1979): Renault-Alpine A443 - The most advanced and powerful (2.2-litre 550hp V6 turbocharged engine) of all Alpines (an evolution of the A442 and A442B prototypes) returns to Le Mans in the hands of Jean Ragnotti and Alain Serpaggi, who both raced for Alpine in La Sarthe. In 1978, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Patrick Depailler qualified on the front row and emerged at the front of the field during the seventh hour after curing a vibration-related problem. With two-thirds of the race completed, the Renault A443 was still running ahead. The team consequently decided to reduce the turbo boost of the leading car. At 9:21am, the Renault-Alpine A443 re-joined the race with Patrick Depailler at the wheel. Thirty-two minutes later his car came to a halt down at the Mulsanne Corner with a seized engine. That handed first place, and victory, to the Renault Alpine A442B of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.
The maiden appearance at Le Mans of one of the cars produced by the brand founded by Jean Rédélé dates back to 1963 when three Alpine M63s lined up for the start. From 1973, when the brand was acquired by Renault, a new, ambitious campaign meant that Alpine was able to target overall victory. In 1976, the first Renault-Alpine of the so-called ‘yellow’ period qualified on pole position and posted the fastest race lap. Two years later, the programme was rewarded by Alpine’s historic Le Mans win in 1978. Thirty-five years later, Alpine returned to Le Mans in 2013. The Alpine A450 prototype entered by Signatech Alpine sported the same magnificent blue robe reminding of the sixties. This comeback was rewarded in 2014 with seventh overall and a podium finish in the LM P2 class.
The 7th edition of the Le Mans Classic will take place on July 4-6.