Alpine has confirmed that will enter the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship next year in an alliance with Signatech and ORECA.
As reported by Sportscar365 last week, the French manufacturer will make the step up to the top prototype class after five seasons of LMP2 competition, including class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in three of the last four years.
The program, which will be run under the Alpine Endurance Team banner, will utilize a modified Rebellion R13 Gibson for the single-car program.
Drivers have yet to be announced.
“The R13 chassis will serve as a basis,” said Signatech team principal Philippe Sinault. “The engine will be the Gibson. For the rest, the timing will tell us what we are able to do.
“First of all, there is a season to finish. What is certain is that there is real enthusiasm around the LMP1 project. We are confident that we can compete with the competition.”
Alpine’s entry, which is currently only confirmed for 2021 due to the grandfathering rules for LMP1 non-hybrids, will be joined by the new-for-2021 Le Mans Hypercar entries from Toyota, Glickenhaus and ByKolles on the grid in next year’s WEC season.
“The ACO has shown that BOP and [Success Handicap] works very well with real ethics,” Sinault added. “BoP will be a topic but it will be treated fairly.”
Regis Fricotte, Alpine’s sales and competition director, said they will be taking the program one year at a time. “For 2022, everything can still change,” he said.
Alpine is known to have been involved in discussions to build a car around the LMDh regulations, which could launch in 2022 although is likely to be pushed back to 2023 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Confirmation of Alpine’s continued involvement in endurance racing follows the brand’s announcement that it will enter Formula 1 next year through a re-branding of the Renault F1 Team.
“Motorsport is inseparable from the Alpine brand, whose passion for competition and sportsmanship is its DNA,” said Alpine managing director Patrick Marinoff. “The return to endurance in 2013 marked the beginning of a long-term adventure.
“After eight successful years against some of the best teams in the world, it is time to take a new step by challenging the constructors in the premier category as we will also do in F1.
“The latest changes to the 2021 regulations allow Alpine to demonstrate its technical know-how and racing experience in a competitive and fair field thanks to a fairly moderated investment ensured with various cost controls measures.
“Together, we intend to take the fight to well-established competition and to write new pages in the history of this great brand born out of competition that is Alpine and to put the French colors at the highest levels of motorsport.”