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Lapierre Returns as Alpine Names Drivers for LMP1 Debut

Lapierre, Negrao, Vaxiviere to race for Alpine in WEC’s Hypercar class this year…

Photo: MPS Agency

Alpine Endurance Team has named Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao as its driving trio for the French team’s maiden season in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top prototype class.

The Signatech-run outfit is fielding an ORECA-built Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 machine in the Hypercar category after several years competing in the LMP2 ranks.

It confirmed the news of its 2021 lineup in a social media post on Tuesday.

Negrao is the only member of Alpine’s 2019-20 season squad to be retained for the Renault brand’s move to the top prototype division, while Lapierre returns to the team with which he claimed three of his four 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class victories.

Lapierre will also make his return to the WEC’s top category, having represented Toyota in LMP1 from 2012-2014 and also in 2017 at Le Mans.

After his stint with the Japanese marque, the 36-year-old enjoyed a successful spell in LMP2 where he was central to Signatech Alpine’s WEC title runs in 2016 and 2018-19.

Lapierre partnered with Negrao and Pierre Thiriet for the latter of those two triumphs. Each of his three Le Mans attempts with Alpine resulted in class wins.

The Frenchman then moved to Cool Racing for 2019-20 and will again represent the Swiss team, which he co-manages, in the ELMS alongside his return to Alpine and LMP1.

Lapierre’s revisit to the WEC’s top prototype class will pit him in competition against his former LMP1 team Toyota, which is fielding the new GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is also signed up with a pair of non-hybrid LMH entries.

Both Negrao and 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring runner-up Vaxiviere will be competing in the WEC’s top category for the first time.

Vaxiviere is set for his maiden appearance with the Alpine prototype squad while Negrao is entering his fourth season as part of the team’s lineup.

Vaxiviere’s most recent WEC term came in the 2018-19 season when he drove for the TDS Racing squad in LMP2.

Both Alpine and Toyota have now firmed up their driver lineups for the coming year, while SCG is understood to be making its own crew announcement in the coming days.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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