A deal with Andretti Autosport to field customer Alpine LMDh cars would make “full use” of the French manufacturer’s top-class program that’s set to come online in 2024 according to the company’s chief executive.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has confirmed talks with Michael Andretti that could see a potential GTP class operation in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship alongside Alpine’s factory FIA World Endurance Championship effort.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, Andretti had been in preliminary talks with the manufacturer on a potential Formula 1 engine supply deal as well as a venture into sports cars, although further details had not been made clear at the time.
“I actually went [to Andretti Autosport] to see them and talk about the possibility,” Rossi told Sportscar365. “Because they were simply interested.
“When we announced that we would do LMDh, they raised their hands to say, ‘we would be interested in running your car in IMSA and possibly Le Mans, because it means a lot to Americans.’
“So we discussed it, and it’s one of the possibilities that we are still studying, that would allow us to potentially make the full use of our LMDh program.”
Rossi said a deal with Andretti would be “more of” a customer program that would allow for the ORECA-chassied car to compete in multiple series.
However, it’s currently unclear how the car would be eligible to compete in the WeatherTech Championship.
IMSA has stipulated that any LMDh or LMH manufacturer must sell cars in North America and have a road car production of at least 2,500 units per year.
While meeting the production requirement with its A110 model, Alpine doesn’t currently serve the U.S. market, although Rossi did not rule that out in the future when asked by Sportscar365.
“We [will] cross that bridge when we get there, to be honest,” he said.
Former Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin, who has joined Alpine Racing as its executive director, said: “Our target is to race in 2024 with a factory team in the World Endurance Championship.
“This is our main target and we are focused on that.
“The second target would be to sell customer cars if some teams are interested to race with our car, both WEC or IMSA. They can race in both championships.”
Alpine LMDh Development Going “According to Plan”
Development of the ORECA-chassied LMDh car is moving ahead as planned, with work already underway on the engine according to Famin.
“The engine is on the dyno,” he said. “We are working on the development and are confident of having the right level of performance.
“We are going to start endurance tests on the dyno in the coming weeks.
“We are working with components that we know already, with some technical items from Formula 1 to ensure we can reach the high level of performance required.”
Famin said its plan to debut the car in 2024 was made considering “all the constraints” involved, alluding to the fact that chassis partner ORECA is currently involved with multiple other programs that are set to come online next year.
It includes the Acura ARX-06 LMDh project and production of Ferrari’s new 296 GT3 car.
“We are working with ORECA and they are working right now with another automaker,” said Famin.
“We have started working with ORECA on the design of the car and the integration of the engine. For the specific parts, we will design soon in the coming weeks.
“That is why we will be ready for 2024 only, because we have to start working on the chassis side a bit later due to the ORECA availability.
“And then we will be ready to start the 2024 season, for IMSA starting in January, if we find some customer to race there.”
Famin wouldn’t confirm when the car is scheduled to complete its rollout but said they “will be ready” for the 2024 season, potentially with customers as well.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report