Alpine Endurance Team goes LMP1 in 2021

A top-class program with an Oreca chassis

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By Emmanuel Touzot

14 September 2020 - 13:53
Alpine Endurance Team goes LMP1 in (...)

Back in competition to support the development and launch of the Alpine A110, Alpine has lived up to its rich heritage in excelling everywhere it has competed since its return to endurance.

The alliance established between Alpine and the Signatech team paid dividends with the Drivers and Teams titles in its maiden season in the European Le Mans Series in 2013, followed by a repeat performance in 2014. A year later, les Bleus moved up to the FIA World Endurance Championship. Once again, Alpine proved itself with two world titles and three LMP2 category wins in the last four editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

On the strength of this enviable record, Alpine starts today a new challenge as it will enter an LMP1 prototype in the premier class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.

While integrating the pinnacle of motorsport, this new project bears witness to Alpine’s spirited and growing ambitions, born out of competition for competition. Starting next year, Alpine will be the one of the only constructors simultaneously entered at the highest level of two FIA-recognised World Championships, while also organising a complete customer racing programme with the Alpine A110 Cup, GT4 and Rally.

Despite their apparent similarities, the LMP1 and LMP2 categories have two very distinct philosophies. Where LMP2 is earmarked for independent squads with one of the mandated chassis and a single engine, LMP1 is reserved for factory teams free of these restrictions. Their extra power, lighter weight, more complex aerodynamics and free choice of drivers regardless of their categorisation result in much faster lap times.

This long-awaited return to the zenith of endurance racing is part of the history and DNA of the brand, which had already participated 11 times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1963 and 1978. Alpine has won everything in the world’s greatest endurance race: the Index of Thermal Efficiency in 1964, 1966 and 1968, the Index of Performance in 1968 and 1969, seven class victories - a number that is now at ten - and most famously, the overall win in 1978 with the Alpine A442B driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi.

True to the values that have driven it since 1955, Alpine approaches this challenge with humility and confidence to try to shake up the hierarchy while offering a quality show to Endurance enthusiasts. To achieve this and to leave its mark on the premier category, Alpine Endurance Team will take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the evolution of the LMP1 regulations for 2021.

The ACO, which is the promoter of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will authorise LMP1’s involvement alongside the new Hypercars next year thanks to the ‘Balance of Performances’ (BoP) which will ensure all the actors will be on a level-playing field.

Alpine will therefore campaign an Alpine LMP1 prototype based on an Oreca chassis and Gibson engine, both of which have a proven track record. This package will benefit from all of Oreca and Signatech’s technical expertise in order to achieve a level of performance that will enable Alpine to compete for victory against the competition, while potential synergies with the F1 team are being studied.

Alpine Endurance Team will unveil its LMP1 prototype, colours and driver line-up in the upcoming months prior to commencing its test programme.

"Motorsport is inseparable from the Alpine brand, whose passion for competition and sportsmanship is its DNA" said Patrick Marinoff, Alpine Managing Director. "The return to endurance in 2013 marked the beginning of a long-term adventure. After eight successful years against some of the best teams in the world, it is time to take a new step by challenging the constructors in the premier category as we will also do in F1."

"The latest changes to the 2021 regulations allow Alpine to demonstrate its technical know-how and racing experience in a competitive and fair field thanks to a fairly moderated investment ensured with various cost controls measures. Together, we intend to take the fight to well-established competition and to write new pages in the history of this great brand born out of competition that is Alpine and to put the French colours at the highest levels of motorsport."

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