Alpine has pledged its commitment to the future of top-level prototype racing by confirming a four-year LMDh program starting in 2024.
The Renault Group brand on Tuesday announced that it will develop an LMDh car in collaboration with chassis constructor ORECA and race team Signatech.
Alpine also plans to draw on the expertise of its sister Formula 1 team that is partly based in Viry-Chatillon, where the car’s Alpine-badged internal combustion engine will be developed ready for integration into the spec LMDh electric hybrid system.
The “synergies” between the endurance and F1 programs are also set to include aerodynamic work at Alpine’s Enstone facility in the UK.
Two Signatech-run Alpine LMDh cars will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship from the first year of the program.
Furthermore, Alpine’s LMDh announcement included a statement line that said the LMDh “economic model is virtuous as it facilitates the sale of cars to customer teams.”
Alpine is the sixth manufacturer to enter the global LMDh formula after Audi, Porsche, Acura, BMW and Cadillac.
A total of 11 companies have now confirmed future top-level prototype entries, with Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari, Glickenhaus and ByKolles all committed to the LMH ruleset.
Alpine currently races against LMH machinery in the WEC’s Hypercar class with a grandfathered LMP1 car developed by ORECA.
Company CEO Laurent Rossi said in August that Alpine was evaluating both LMDh and LMH as part of an aim to maintain its presence in endurance racing, which he views as a suitable “complement” to Formula 1 from a public engagement perspective.
A prototype program decision was due to be made before the end of this year.
“The Alpine endurance program underlines the brand’s dedication and ambition in motorsport,” said Rossi.
“By competing in both Formula 1 and endurance, Alpine is one of the only two brands to be present in the two key disciplines of motorsport.
“We will make the most of Formula 1 and endurance through technical and technological synergies to gain the advantage of prestigious opponents.”
ACO President Pierre Fillon commented: “Another prestigious marque has joined the Hypercar class, the new premier league of endurance racing.
“There have been so many announcements over the past year and the latest from Alpine is excellent news for our discipline. The Hypercar regulations are a success and we’re delighted to see such a high-quality grid taking shape.”
Alpine’s selection of ORECA as the chassis constructor builds on a history of collaboration between the two French organizations.
ORECA supplied the Alpine-badged LMP2 cars that Signatech ran to multiple class titles in the WEC and European Le Mans Series before its graduation to the new Hypercar division in 2021.
Meanwhile, Signatech boss Philippe Sinault described it as a “great pride” to be chosen by Alpine to continue supporting the brand’s sports car racing efforts into the LMDh era.
“This represents the culmination of a common project that began eight years ago,” he said.
“More than ever, we have great ambitions and are happy to take our collaboration to another dimension.
“After 32 years of career in motorsport, I long to challenge the most prestigious manufacturers on the planet, with Alpine, a brand that conveys passion and that lives only for victory.”
Alpine’s commitment to LMDh from 2024 raises questions about how the brand will approach the next two WEC seasons.
It is known to have been pushing for an additional year of grandfathered eligibility for its Gibson V8-powered non-hybrid LMP1 car to keep it running next year.
During the LMDh announcement, Alpine stated that it “wants to remain involved” in the WEC “in order to best prepare” for its next-generation project.
Alpine’s LMDh program was announced at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, during the presentation screening of a documentary charting the brand’s history at Le Mans.