Fresh off its second consecutive championship in the European Le Mans Series, Signatech-Alpine is evaluating its options for 2015, which could see the French squad expand efforts in the ELMS or potentially step up to the FIA World Endurance Championship. (En Français)
The team’s plans of a two-car effort was foiled this year when one of its Apline A450b Nissans was placed on the reserve list for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, before being withdrawn.
“Running two cars is part of the plan, but we have yet to determine the series” team manager Philippe Sinault told Endurance-Info. “We would like to run in the FIA WEC but ELMS is the logical continuation after two titles. We should know more in late November.
“What is certain is that we’re ahead of schedule compared to last year. The 2015 program could see a car in FIA WEC and ELMS. This is something that needs to be discussed with our partners.
“The Alpine brand is interested in some of the FIA WEC circuits. We must not forget that the brand is intended to be sold mostly overseas.”
While having spent the past two years with Alpine-badged Oreca 03 Nissans, its chassis partner is also under evaluation for next year, particularly with the new movement of coupes in the LMP2 class.
“We saw this season that the ORECA Technology-designed chassis was still competitive but other options are being considered as [the class] transitions into closed-top cars,” Sinault said. “You have to see what the regulations will allow.
“Ideally, we would build our own car but it’s not something currently possible. If we run two cars in 2015, the idea would be for it to be identical chassis.”
Another challenge for next year could be the driver categorizations, with the new global set of driver ratings possibly to impact its 2014 championship-winning lineup of Nelson Panciatici, Oliver Webb and Paul Loup Chatin.
Pierre Ragues, a current Silver-rated driver who was under contract with Alpine this year but competed with two other teams, could be part of the mix again in 2015, likely depending on his rating.
While talk of an Alpine GT car has continued, Sinault downplayed such a project but did admit that if it were to happen, it would likely be for GTE rather than GT3 as “the Alpine brand is linked to Le Mans.”
Could that signal a possible LMP1 program in the future? Not necessarily.
“The role of a manufacturer in LMP1 is more than LMP2,” Sinault said. “LMP1 is consistent and one day we will have to ask the question. However, it’s premature to make such a projection.
“What is certain is that Alpine is here for a long time.”