Alpine has completed the first test session of the A424 Hypercar to compete in the premier class of the FIA World Endurance Championship next season.
Following the first fire-up and simulator sessions, the Alpine Hypercar made its first low-speed run in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre in early August. Lapierre, who has 16 Le Mans starts to his name, took his seat at the wheel on 21 August for a shakedown at Le Castellet airport. The aim of the operation was to check the vehicle’s safety functions.
The following day, the Alpine A424 took to the Paul Ricard track for a series of short runs to review the components: gearbox, brakes and cooling system in particular. The mapping of the single-turbo 3.4-litre engine came under special scrutiny. The changes made between runs were validated and on the runs were gradually lengthened on the last day.
Aside from gathering precious data, the team gleaned a good understanding of the Michelin tyres. The last session ended with a 30-lap run.
1,000 KILOMETRES on the clock
The Alpine A424 covered just over 1,000 kilometres without significant issues, gathering both data and experience for the ongoing project.
Three drivers took turns at the wheel: Nicolas Lapierre (Monday and Tuesday), Matthieu Vaxiviere (Wednesday and Thursday) and Charles Milesi (Thursday). More tests are scheduled at Motorland Aragón next month.
"The next six months will certainly be intense"
Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Endurance Team Principal
Bruno Famin, VP Alpine Motorsports: "This first session is the culmination of months of work by the Alpine Racing teams and our partners. Our initial assessment is satisfactory, with a fairly high mileage that has enabled us to conduct our programme step by step. In these early stages of development, the priorities are to validate the fundamental systems and work on reliability whilst beginning to fine-tune the prototype. The drivers were fairly happy with the car, although there were some difficult points, which we are already working on in preparation for the next tests. But we have to be realistic: the work has only just begun. We still have a huge amount of work to do in an extremely short timespan before our first race."
Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Endurance Team Principal: "For the first time in our history, we have the opportunity to be involved in such a large-scale project right from the start. Seeing the A424 take to the track for the first time was a real thrill. This project also brings its share of challenges, as the Alpine Racing teams and our own are working together to get the most out of the Alpine A424. The first overall impression is rather positive, and the absence of blocking problems since the first laps has enabled us to get to know the car fairly quickly. Our knowledge of the car will grow as the development tests continue. The next six months will certainly be intense until our first race in Qatar, but everyone in the team is more than motivated to rise to the challenge."
Click on the gallery below to see more photos of the tests
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