Alpine’s commitment to motorsport shows no sign of waning. This year marks the French marque’s third season in F1, while 2024 will see it return to the top-tier Le Mans hypercar category with an all-new LMDh car. Now it plans to expand its motorsport umbrella with a new programme that’ll see it take on the fearsome Pikes Peak hill climb.
The company has announced that it’s teaming up with French race car engineering squad Signatech - the firm behind its recently retired A480 Le Mans car - to enter a heavily modified A110 GT4 Evo into the 12.4-mile ‘race to the clouds’. Alpine’s keeping its cards close to its chest for now, only admitting that the car will feature ‘imposing aerodynamic appendages to keep it stuck to the ground’. A single shadowy preview image suggests an LMP1-style shark fin on the engine cover, canards behind the doors and a gigantic rear wing, which is of course obligatory for a Pikes Peak racer.
Tellingly, Alpine plans to enter the car in the Time Attack 1 category. That means it won’t be going up against the monster prototypes that set the headline-grabbing records, but instead face other tuned production-based racers such as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, Dodge Viper and Audi S3 LMS touring car. Those are serious competitors, so the company has called on the services of Raphaël Astier, winner of last year’s A110 FIA R-GT Cup and current Time Attack 1 record holder.
Signatech boss Philippe Sinault said: “We know all too well that this is a very different, specific exercise on a highly atypical course, somewhere between a hill climb and a special stage. But this only makes the sporting and technical challenge even more motivating. Above all, we want to put the Alpine name on this event, and this first-ever participation will allow us to see where we stand compared to the fierce competition in our category.” He conceded that Alpine won’t be going for the “overall win” when the Pikes Peak weekend kicks off on 25th June, but it’s all part of the company’s plan to be “a brand having a vast motorsport footprint”. Let’s hope the A110 gets the rub of the green its F1 team missed out on at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix...
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