Who doesn't love the A110? Hands up? If your hand has left the keyboard or your phone is in the air, put it back down again because you're mistaken. Alpine's first go at the 21st century is cheek-soakingly good. If you don't think so, you haven't driven it. Because when you do, you convert instantly; even if there are things you don't like and half a dozen ways you think it could be made better - you still sit there, post-go, marvelling at what two-dozen or so Frenchman have conjured from nothing.
To its credit, its maker took the marvel racing almost immediately. The A110 Cup was launched at the end of 2017 to compete in a newly formed single-make series. It had slightly more power, obviously weighed less, featured modified suspension geometry and components, plus a lower ride height and the mounting points for a roll cage. Then in 2018 Alpine built on the concept with the GT4 version which added increased aerodynamic downforce and upgraded the 1.8-litre engine to deliver the maximum 312hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio permitted by class regulations.
Naturally both cars were built as bespoke customer racing machines (with factory support provided by Renault's project partner, Signatech) and not for the road. Now though, it appears that Alpine is intent on bridging the gap. The A110 being put through its paces at the Nurburgring this week is road legal and doesn't feature the prominent roll cage that distinguishes its circuit-only stablemates - but still wears a more pronounced front splitter than the standard car, rides lower (even allowing for compression) and gets a proper fixed rear wing.
Moreover, our spy snapper reports that the stickers on the spoiler say "A110 GT4" which we're going to greedily and wishfully take as absolute confirmation that Alpine is forging ahead with a racier version of its two-seater. It makes sense, of course - rumours of a 'Sport Chassis' version of the car surfaced in 2017, predicting a 15-20 per cent stiffer suspension, 300hp and with around 50kg subtracted from the kerbweight. Certainly the engineers have easy acces to everything they need.
Plus they've had a nearly two-year crash course in making the A110 even better at going round a circuit, and now possess a bucketload of publicity and race car clients to leverage. In fact it's not inconceivable that Alpine is already so far along in the process that it has spied the Festival of Speed as an ideal launch platform for its boat-rocking debutant - which would really put the immovable object right next to the unstoppable force.
Perhaps not, though. Renault hasn't even enlightened us on the technical details of its quickest hot hatch yet. Introducing a GT4-badged version of an enormously well received mid-engine, rear-drive sports car when your colleagues have endeavoured to set a technically challenging lap record about ten seconds ago would surely mean stepping on some nearby toes. Wouldn't it? Either way, we're on the edge of our seat...