French manufacturer Alpine has confirmed that it will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar category from 2024 with an LMDh prototype.
The Renault sport brand, which has been competing in the Le Mans Hypercar category this year with a grandfathered LMP1 chassis, joins Porsche, Audi, Acura, BMW, Peugeot, Ferrari and Cadillac in announcing top class programs since the ACO and IMSA announced its convergence plans.
“Another great and prestigious constructor has joined the highest level of endurance racing, in the new top Hypercar class,” Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile de l’Ouest said. “For a year now, announcements continue to be made and Alpine’s participation is excellent news for our discipline. The Hypercar class is certainly a success and we are extremely happy to welcome such a top notch field.”
The Alpine effort is initially scheduled to continue through to 2027 and will be run by longstanding parter Signatech, with the car to be based on the next generation ORECA LMP2 chassis with a new purpose-built engine developed at Renault’s Viry plant. However, by debuting the car in 2024, a year after LMDh makes its global debut, Alpine will miss out on the chance to win the 100th anniversary running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2023 with its new car.
“Alpine’s endurance program underscores the marque’s dedication and ambition in motorsport,” Laurent Rossi, President of Alpine Racing said. “By competing simultaneously in Formula 1 and endurance, Alpine will be one of the few constructors to participate in the two leading disciplines in auto racing. We intend to make the most of Formula 1 and endurance through technical and technological synergies to gain the advantage over our prestigious opponents.”
Philippe Sinault, team manager of Alpine Elf Matmut, said that Signatech is proud to have been chosen to manage Alpine’s endurance racing efforts going forward.
“This represents the culmination of a shared project launched eight years ago,” he said. “We feel more ambitious than ever and are happy to take our collaboration to the next level. After 32 years in auto racing, I can’t wait to challenge the most reputable manufacturers on the planet with Alpine, a marque that conveys passion and that lives only for victory.”
News of Alpine’s plans to join the top category was previous rumored to break during Le Mans week back in August this year, but the marque was silent. However, it did signal that news was coming when it displayed an F1 car alongside its A110 road and race cars at the event.
Alpine has a history of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours dating back to the 1960s, and has been a mainstay in the FIA WEC in recent years. It has 10 class wins at La Sarthe, and one overall win in 1978 with the A442B driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. In the FIA WEC, it won the LMP2 class title in 2016 after winning the European Le Mans Series LMP2 championships in 2013 and 2014.