Philippe Sinault says that his Signatech race team has “an opportunity” to return to the top level of prototype racing if its partner brand Alpine commits to the new LMDh formula.
Signatech has operated Alpine’s prototype program since 2013, while the collaboration has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and both the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title and European Le Mans Series twice.
For the last six years, the French outfit has competed with Oreca LMP2 cars rebranded as Alpines in a tactic that loosely resembles the LMDh formula’s core philosophy of manufacturers purchasing and styling their choice of LMP2 base chassis.
Signatech last raced in the top category of sports car racing in 2011, when it ran a Lola-Aston Martin LMP1 car in that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Since many years we have pushed to consider and create a stronger link with DPi, so it’s good for us,” Sinault told Sportscar365.
“LMDh is a good announcement, for sure, since we have encountered a bit of trouble with Hypercar with all the change and all the subjects – a lot of people have questions at the moment.
“We have to consider Hypercar, but LMDh looks interesting for a lot of manufacturers and teams.”
Sinault explained that the LMDh concept fits in with what Signatech and Alpine have been pushing for since the beginning of the current LMP2 rules set in 2017.
These regulations helped form the basis for IMSA’s DPi formula, which is effectively the natural successor to the LMDh platform which will enable the same type of car to compete in both ACO and IMSA-sanctioned competitions.
“When Porsche stopped [in LMP1] everybody started thinking about the future of endurance prototype racing,” Sinault said. “Me and some other people put together some ideas on a piece of paper.
“Now we have an opportunity and we will consider.
“But I do not have the final answer on this project: Alpine does. We will talk about it and analyze the situation. We will consider it, but nothing has been made sure at the moment.”
Should Alpine commit to LMDh, it would likely have a larger involvement in the running of the race program than it currently does in LMP2.
“For sure, when you consider that we would be fighting for the overall victory at Le Mans, you need to have more involvement with a manufacturer,” said Sinault.
“We would need more involvement from Alpine, which is the reason why we care so strongly about this.
“Really, nothing is confirmed at the moment. But since the end of January with the announcement [of LMDh], the interest is really there.
“My main concern is to have the green light from Renault and Alpine. The ACO, IMSA and WEC must make some adjustments for sure, but we see the [general idea].
“We now have to push with Alpine and work with them in this way.”