Alpine Elf Team views its power increase for the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day as “better than nothing”, according to team principal Philippe Sinault.
Sinault, whose Signatech outfit runs the Alpine A480 Gibson, reckons the 10-kW raise applied in the latest Hypercar Balance of Performance should put the grandfathered LMP1 car in a better position compared to last month’s TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa.
He also suggested that the Alpine team “expected more” from the pre-event BoP but will use the tools it has available to make the most out of its package.
The BoP update issued ahead of Sunday’s test restores half of the power reduction that points leader Alpine received between the first two FIA World Endurance Championship rounds at Sebring and Spa.
Further BoP adjustments can be made throughout Le Mans race week.
“I think the ACO and FIA considered the subject, and we had a lot of sharing of data to address the situation,” Sinault told Sportscar365.
“They considered that they can improve our pace a bit by adding 10 kW. We have to play it like this, and we will see. I think the situation is not easy for them.
“But it is better than nothing. It will be better than Spa, for sure. But it’s difficult because the layout for Le Mans is so specific.”
The test day BoP is difficult to read because, on the one hand, Alpine has gained 10 kW since the 6 Hours of Spa which appears to be a gain.
However, its total power output figure of 420 kW (563 hp) sits 30 kW (around 40 hp) lower than what it had for last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It has also seen its energy allowance per stint reduced, which is the same case for its Hypercar competitors Toyota Gazoo Racing and Glickenhaus.
“Compared to the BoP of last year, the situation is worse,” Sinault expressed.
“But since last year, a lot of changes have happened. And also our management of all the processes around the car. So it’s difficult to say.
“We have to stay confident with the regulations and legislature, and we will see after Sunday.
“Now it’s time to deliver: it’s too late to complain. We have the tools and we have to play with them: to have the consumption and the way to use the fuel more efficiently.
“I am quite happy to have more power, for sure. Without help it was impossible. Now it’s on a better way. We expected more, but now it is like this.”
At this early stage of the event, Sinault expects Alpine to be flirting with 12-lap stints around the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe but said that 11 is currently more realistic.
Last year the Alpine managed 12-lap stints while Toyota Gazoo Racing reached 13-lap stints that helped propel the Japanese marque to a four-lap margin of victory.
“The gap is between 11 and 12 [laps]. 12 looks difficult,” Sinault said.
“We will achieve a minimum one lap less compared with Toyota, I think.”
Alpine “More Prepared” for Second Outing
Driver Andre Negrao believes Alpine is “more prepared” for its second Le Mans bid with the A480 Gibson off the back of its first season running the ORECA-built prototype.
Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere arrive to their team’s home race as the drivers’ championship leaders after large points results at the opening two rounds.
“First at Sebring and second in Spa was beautiful,” Negrao told Sportscar365.
“We definitely have more confidence with everything, but it’s still a long fight for the season.
“But the team is more prepared than last year with this car.
“We adjusted the car a little bit in terms of engine and traction control compared to last year, so it’s better than before.
“I think we have a good chance. We just have to stay close to them in the race and see what we can do.”