cars are boring. but not this one. i want it : Alpine A310 V6 Pack GT.
I was expecting an announcement for 2014 Le Mans, but Renault has somewhat surprised everybody by announcing that there will be an Alpine badged car racing the LMP2 class in THIS year’s Le Mans. Wow. They’ve also released the ‘teaser’ pic above (tastefully tweaked by yours truly).
Here are some quotes directly from Renault:
“Today, another important step has been taken with the announcement that an Alpine prototype is to race in the competitive 2013 European Le Mans Series endurance racing championship (ELMS), as well as at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours (June 22-23).
The decision to compete at Le Mans fits perfectly with the brand’s heritage, since Alpine contested the famous 24-Hour race 11 times between 1963 and 1978, running a total of 55 factory cars. In addition to its successes in the ‘Energy Index’ classification in 1964, 1965 and 1968, as well as in the ‘Performance Index’ classification in 1968 and 1969, its efforts harvested seven class wins in total and, above all, outright victory in 1978 with the Alpine A442B prototype shared by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. The two Frenchmen were joined in the top four by the A442 of Jean Ragnotti and Guy Fréquelin.
For its return to Le Mans, Alpine has joined forces with Signatech. The Philippe Sinault-run team will enter an Alpine LM P2 prototype with an Alpine chassis powered by a 500hp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELMS, including the opening race at Silverstone, England (April 13). The drivers will be Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.
The highlight of the season will naturally be the Le Mans 24 Hours. The name of the third driver who will join the team for the world’s most famous endurance race will be announced when the car is officially presented at Le Castellet, France, on March 24.
Said Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer, Renault: “Alpine’s return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 marks the beginning of a new adventure which is set to last. The passion that drives us is matched only by the humility and careful attention paid to costs that epitomise this comeback which itself has been made possible thanks to the involvement of our partners and supporters who I would like to thank formally here. Together, step by step, we will do our very best to write another exciting page in the history of Alpine, a truly outstanding name in the world of French sports cars.””
I AM SO EXCITED.
src: renault press services
Carlos Tavares (Renault CEO) has been talking some details about the resurrection of Alpine! It seems it will be a completely new car, and NOT the A110-50 that was shown several months ago. Should be very, very interesting.
My bet is that Lotus is going to be involved in this….as Lotus and Alpine have a history of collaboration.
“We could have given our engineers €50 million and told them to make the best of it. But that would probably have produced a mediocre car because it’s not much money to play with. Alpine has a great history, and we want to make emotional cars that will be true to that.”
“He won’t yet reveal the mechanical layout but admits it is unlikely to be rear-engined, as the A110 was.”
“Convenience is an important part of modern packaging,” Tavares says, “but we are not inclined to compromise too much. This is a car that must appeal to the emotions. If you refine such a car too much, it loses its special character.”
The production Alpine will bear little relation to the Alpine concept from earlier this year that incorporated the styling of the DeZir concept on to a Mégane Trophy racer.
I will be posting lots of photos and videos (hopefully) from today’s Alpine A110-50 concept debut. As someone who is very excited and enthusiastic about the past and future of the Alpine marque—today should be a fascinating day!
Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer at Renault….i dig the Alpine threads, man!
The photos here have been REMOVED due to their unoriginal effects as I was informed by the photographer (Anke Luckmann). The ORIGINAL PHOTOS have now been uploaded into a new post, thanks to Ms. Anke Luckmann for sending me her original versions of these photos:
Ebay can be dangerous….especially ebay.fr!
I’ve had trouble finding 1:43 die cast models of Alpines that actually satisfies me in terms of proportions and accuracy….but these french made models are really great; and very affordable as well! I bought 4 of them which came today. On the lookout for more!
And this rare and super cool A210!
The final Alpine which came out under the Alpine badge was the A610/GTA which was introduced in 1986 and eventually warped in the final reiteration which came out in 1991. This GTA was supposed to make it to the US with a Renault “Alpine GTA” badge and even had cars sent for reviews to auto car magazines; only to have it pulled in the end due to Renault’s bad state of affairs in the US market.
As it turns out, Renault was also working on another car between 1989 to 1993 known as the “W71″. This car was a small, lightweight, 2-seater which was meant to be a modern interpretation of the original A110. The people developing this car in Berex (the original Renault Sport factory; the site where the A442 was developed) were indeed personnel leftover from the original Alpine factory. Their goal was to save the badge and indeed produce a car which would hark back to the glory days of Alpine; functional, lightweight, driver’s cars. Not to say that A610 wasn’t a driver’s car—-it was. That being said, the A610 had grown in size significantly from even the small A310 and it was full of luxury amenities and had become a hybrid of a GT car and a sports car to rival the 911 of the time.
Renault’s Berex, where a lot of the former Alpine employees still worked:
In the past few weeks, there have been numerous articles popping up online about Renault building a 50th anniversary tribute to the original A110 Berlinette (which I can confirm to you IS true….they are working on an Alpine), and a story about the people behind the ‘new’ Lancia Stratos trying to get permission to make a ‘new’ Alpine A110
In the past, there have been some grainy, incomplete photos of the W71/A710/A410 published online; but these have been suboptimal to get an insight into the car’s designs. I was graciously provided these exclusive photos of the ‘lost’ prototype from the time of development. If you use these photos anywhere else on the web, please credit this blog.
I was told that the hopes of all the remaining Alpine staff rested on this car ‘making it to production’……when it was killed off by Renault, it was the final stab to a great marque.
Some information about the long lost prototype that sits hidden away somewhere in France!
“Yes, the prototype was totally functional. It’s handling was tested and fine tuned on Renault ’s Aubevoye test center tracks. It’s lap time was better than A610′s lap time, despite inferior engine. If I remember correctly, prototype was fitted with J7R, 2L NA engine 140 HP versus Z7X 2.5L turbo 250 HP for the A610. The first prototype and concept was very light (no AD, no air cond, no ABS…) but later in the project, the marketing asked for a lot of these useless things in this kind of car. Theorical weight and price increased, performance decreased. And the project was finally axed in 1992 or 1993″
As you can see, it has a completely finished interior with badges on the steering wheel and door sills. Nice sport bucket seats as well! Functionality of the original Alpine spirit looks preserved in this limited view.
The first Porsche Boxster concept was shown to the world in 1993, right after this A710/A410 project was killed off. The 3rd generation MR2, which also carries some features of this car in design was introduced in 1999. As someone who is fascinated, intrigued, and interested in Alpine cars and company history; it saddens me that Renault killed off this car. It seems like the W71/A710/A410 would have taken the company back to the days of producing a pure sports car; in the spirit of the original brand.
I often hear people saying that the A110 was the “Porsche 911 of France”….which I don’t agree with. I actually think of Alpine as more akin to Lotus than Porsche; a focused racing company with an intriguing history and a different way of doing things. Whereas Lotus and Alpine both lost their way a bit in the 80s; Lotus came back strong with the Elise in the 90s…….according to the pics and information about this lost Alpine; Alpine could have come back strong with their own rear-engined ‘pure’ sports car—-unfortunately for Alpine, Renault controlled the company. It is tragic this car was never even shown at an auto show or to the world—even though they spent almost $10 million (1989 money) developing it. What could have been…..
The styling of the W71 was, however, influenced by the 1990 Renault Laguna Concept (photo via netcarshow)
A couple of years later, the Renault Sport Spider was introduced with obviously devoted “A210/A220″ race car headlights…..but when i asked about the origins of this car and whether this Spider was actually the A710/A410 in hiding, i was told that the Spider was NOT the same as the A710/A410 in any way; however some of the same people responsible for the A710/A410 project were involved in the Spider project. The Spider was code named “W94″ and was produced between 1995 and 1997 at the Dieppe factory (now a Renault Sport factory). It obviously carried the spirit of the A710/A410 prototype; but in a different form.
It is amazing how a 5 second clip can make me fantasize for 20 minutes about the Alpine A110.
a nice Alpine A310. check out the interior….funky indeed. As mentioned before, I am increasingly attracted to the A310, as a by product of my obsession with the A110.