Pic Of The Week: Renault at Le Mans


It’s official, then: Renault will once again race at La Sarthe. And while this morning’s announcement only confirms that the company will supply its Alpine chassis to the Signatech team in the LMP2 category this year, it does pave the way for a potential full-blown LMP1 entry in 2014 or 2015.

This is undoubtedly fantastic news for motorsport fans across the world and for the future health of the World Endurance Championship. And there can be no better excuse to root through the archives to find this classic shot of Renault-Alpine’s last great prototype endurance racer – the Renault Alpine A442B - on its way to winning the 1978 Le Mans 24h.

Powered by a Renault-Gordini turbocharged V6 that developed over 500hp, and driven by Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, the A442B flew to victory in the 1978 race, hitting over 215mph on the Mulsanne Straight along the way. So strenuous was the experience that Pironi, driving for the final stint, was unable to make the climb up to the podium to take the trophy, leading Jaussaud to do so on his own.

No small feat, then, but a victory to be proud of, and a proud heritage for Renault-Alpine to live up to when it makes its comeback.

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Comments (8) Join the discussion on the forum

  • MCBrowncoat 08 Mar 2013

    So what's going on with the canopy/windscreen? From the two pictures so far, I can't figure it out. Is it an open or closed cockpit?

  • dandare 08 Mar 2013

    MCBrowncoat said:
    So what's going on with the canopy/windscreen? From the two pictures so far, I can't figure it out. Is it an open or closed cockpit?
    My thought exactly. Was the driver a gynaecologist?

  • the fury 08 Mar 2013

    I prepare to stand corrected but (if I remember the Tamiya kit of it I made when I was a kid correctly) it wrapped quite far over the top but stopped short of actually covering the driver's head. I think it was to have the aero advantage of a closed car but not comply with the rules associated with one. But I might be talking balls. Great looking car though.

  • grumbas 08 Mar 2013

    Better pic of the windscreen on the other article:



    More confused now though...

  • stephendell 08 Mar 2013

    Following wind tunnel testing in 1977, the A442B and A443 were introduced in 1978 with an acrylic glass "bubble" partial roof, which resulted in an additional 8 km/h (5 mph) in top speed at la Sarthe, but reduced visibility from the driving seat. However, during practice for the 1978 Le Mans 24H, A443 drivers Patrick Depailler and Jean-Pierre Jabouille complained that the bubble made them feel claustrophobic and trapped engine heat inside the cockpit, making driving conditions unbearable. Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi in the A442B persisted with the canopy so only the A442B actually competed with the bubble in place and won!


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