With three Le Mans LMP2 class victories under its belt, Alpine is gunning for an overall win at La Sarthe with an LMP1 car in 2021, it has been confirmed.
Signatech Alpine has had a good few years in LMP2. With five seasons in the World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 class the team has managed three Le Mans class victories and two LMP2 world titles. But now Signatech Alpine will become the Alpine Endurance Team, as the Renault-owned brand looks to broaden its sporting profile.
The Alpine LMP1 car won’t use an Alpine designed engine or chassis, but instead an Oreca chassis and a Gibson engine, “both of which have a proven track record,” says Alpine. The news comes just a week after it was announced the Renault F1 team would change its name for 2021 from Renault to Alpine F1.
“Motorsport is inseparable from the Alpine brand, whose passion for competition and sportsmanship is its DNA,” says Alpine’s boss Patrick Marinoff. “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.”
The top-flight of cars at Le Mans will look very different in 2021, however, with the new ‘hypercar class’ rules coming into force for the 2020/2021 season. Le Mans Hypercars will be introduced to replace Le Mans Prototypes, the class that has reigned supreme for nearly two decades. To help with the transition, though, the FIA and the ACO will allow LMP1 cars to be entered for the new season, with balance of performance rules set to even the playing field between the two classes. To compete at Le Mans beyond 2021, then, Alpine would need a new machine.
Speaking of hypercars, Toyota has confirmed the GR Super Sport as its Le Mans Hypercar for 2021. Glickenhaus are also set to compete with their already teased SCG007 racer, and long-time WEC competitors ByKolles have announced their intention to run in the new class, too. Peugeot will enter a hypercar in 2022, having announced its pairing with current LMP1 squad Rebellion, and Aston Martin should race that year too with a racing version of the Valkyrie, a project that should have been well underway for Le Mans in 2021 but has been put on ice until Aston Martin’s finances look a little healthier.