Alpine Unveils Spectacular Le Mans Prototype

A424_β Enters WEC in 2021

French sports car maker Alpine has exposed a premature look at its hypervehicle participant for the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, sixty years after its initial entrance into this well-known competition. Going by the moniker A424_ß, the utilization of the second Greek alphabet letter implies that this is only a concept in its terminal phase before its actual release; equivalent to Alpine’s electric hot hatch concept manifest last month.

The rest of the title follows in the footsteps of the manufacturer’s other winning long-distance racing autos, leading with the number 4. Paying tribute to the vie for which the vehicle will take part is the purpose of the final two digits.

Did you assume Alpine was mere a sports car logo on a Renault? Rethink this! Take a peek at this and look far beyond what you already believed.

As anticipated, the body of this automobile reflects the design of last year’s Alpenglow electric hypercar concept. Appealing to one’s eye is the A-arrows on the back surrounding the taillights, further accentuating the triangular motif seen in the headlights and also the daggerboards (connected aerodynamically to the rear wing and chassis from compatriot Oreca with whom Alpine has long been allied).

The speedster is driven by a potent 3.4-liter 90-degree V6 crafted by Mecachrome, fueled with just one turbocharger – an exceptional set up compared to other Hypercar class examples. It stimulates the maximum authorized power of 500 kilowatts (670 horse power). Furthermore, it includes a universal Bosch 50 kW hybrid system plus a Williams battery along with the widely used Xtrac seven-speed gearbox. The automobile is shod with Michelin rubber on its 18-inch wheels with single-piece, six-piston calipers, and all this applied power stops the 2,271-lb behemoth.

Astonishingly, it hasn’t been much of a journey to reach this milestone. In September 2020, the A-arrow brand declared their comeback for the upper echelon of Endurance racing. Furthermore, October 2021 saw them stating their plans to arrive with an LMDh Hypercar including two cars for 2024. Subsequently, during the following month, their Design Office started sketching out the prototype shape. January 2022 witnessed the undertakings of preliminary examination, involving any parties from Oreca and Mecachrome, being led by the automotive-focused company based in Viry-Chatillon. Progress continued when, in July, their first aerodynamic trails commenced. Fast forwarding to December, the first dyno runs of the engine were carried out, resulting in last month’s commencement of engine and gearbox assessments at their test benches. Finally, they have divulged their car in a nearly finished format today.

Having been schooled in the nuances of Formula One and having experienced multiple decades at Le Mans, and in keeping with a defined outlook to ensure that future Alpines fo off the road are based on its presence in this arena, it is unsurprising that our expectations are awfully high when it comes to the prospects for the illustrious French automotive movement. Yet, they still have a lengthy trail to make.

This month marks the inaugural launch of the A424_ß, to be followed by its first shakedown at the conclusion of July. August brings a test session at Circuit Paul Ricard, with another planned at Motorland Aragon in September. October will see the third trial held at Jerez, leading the way for the US wind tunnel trials, set to take place during November. Aragon will once again host this venture for its first 24-hour endurance examination later that same month, trailed by a try-out at Portimao in December. Before the year is out, approval from the FIA will take place, and March 2024 will witness the 6 Hours of Qatar as its inaugural race.

Alpine strategically selected the LMDh category to aid them in gaining access to the American market as it costs less than the LMH division, thereby providing extra funds to facilitate the setting up of an on-site presence shortly, offering Americans a fresh selection compared to vehicles such as the Porsche 718 Cayman and Lotus Emira.

“Quelle joie!” – the words of delight uttered by car enthusiasts around the world when they heard of Alpine’s lofty ambitions and their racer that reveals its “vision of the future”. It looks like we may soon have a roadgoing hypercar with French flair, too. What a joyous prospect!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *