Friday, March 22, 2013

Le Mans 24 Hours: The N°36 Alpine breaks cover…

Alpine's return to endurance racing after an absence of 35 years plays a part in the brand's re-emergence ahead of the launch of the first car to be designed by Société des Automobiles Alpine-Caterham, planned for 2016.
- Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues, the two drivers who will share the car at every round of the ELMS, will be joined for the Le Mans 24 Hours by Tristan Gommendy.
- The N°36 Alpine will make its first track appearance at the official ELMS test days at Paul Ricard, France, on March 26-27.
It was a little less than 35 years ago that the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Alpine-Renault A442B paraded down the Champs-Elysées in front of a cheering crowd who turned out to show their appreciation for the car's success in the hands of Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. Today, the Parisian public and visitors to the French capital have another chance to discover the A442B, since it is one of the centrepieces of the ‘No Limit!' exhibition which is currently running at L'Atelier Renault (until April 7).
The Champs Elysees premises consequently provided the ideal backdrop for the revelation of the new Alpine prototype which is poised to compete in this year's endurance racing season. Société des Automobiles Alpine-Caterham's CEO Bernard Ollivier and Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Principal, lifted the veil to reveal a striking blue and orange livery which recalls the colours sported by the Alpines which raced at Le Mans some five decades ago.
"Since the announcement of Alpine's revival on November 5 last year, we have been moving forward step by step," said Bernard Ollivier. "The unveiling of this splendid car marks the beginning of another phase. It will turn a wheel for the first time very soon, and its maiden race will follow shortly afterwards. The news of our endurance racing programme received a very positive welcome, not only from diehard Alpine enthusiasts, but also from the world of motor racing in general. We can hardly wait to see our brand's colours in action!"
"I am extremely proud to be representing Alpine, but it as an honour which goes hand in hand with significant responsibilities," noted Philippe Sinault. "The next step is to take the car to Paul Ricard where our work will begin in earnest. Our aim is to be competitive in endurance racing's highly competitive LMP2 class. We will use the different test sessions that are planned, as well as the first two rounds of the ELMS, to prepare for June's Le Mans 24 Hours which is clearly the focal point of the season."
The drivers who have been named to share the N°36 Alpine-Renault form a blend of experience and youth, and all three are keen to get behind its wheel. Nelson Panciatici, 24, and Pierre Ragues, 29, who were confirmed at the time of the programme's original announcement, will be joined for the Le Mans 24 Hours by 34-year old Tristan Gommendy. The three Frenchmen all rose up through the ranks of Renault's single-seater formulae and, between them, total 10 previous participations in the world's most famous motor race. Another French youngster, Paul-Loup Chatin, has been chosen as the car's reserve driver.
Chassis Alpine
Engine Nissan V8 (type VK45)
Maximum power 500hp
Fuel and lubricants Total
Transmission Six-speed sequential X-Trac gearbox 
Steering Hydraulic, power steering
Brakes Brembo carbon brakes
Tyres Michelin
Length 4,610mm
Wheelbase 2,870mm
Width 1,995mm
Weight 900kg
Top speed 330kph

Born Reims, France, on September 26, 1988 (age: 24)
Single-seater debut 2005 (Formula Renault 2.0)
Endurance racing debut 2012
2012: FIA World Endurance Championship (Signatech-Nissan), fastest race lap at Fuji / 10th overall and 4th in LMP2 at Le Mans / podium finish at Silverstone
2010: FR3.5/WSR (KMP Racing)
2010: FR3/WSR (Junior Lotus Racing)
2009: One of the youngest drivers in GP2
2008: 2nd, Spanish F3 Championship
2005 Formula Renault 2.0 debut
1998-2004: Karting

Born Caen, France, on January 10, 1984 (age: 29)
Single-seater debut 2003 (Formula Renault Campus)
Endurance racing debut 2006
2012 World Endurance Championship (Signatech-Nissan LMP2), 4th in class at Le Mans / 3rd in class at Silverstone / 5th in class at Bahrain.
2011 5th (LMP1), Intercontinental Le Mans Cup
2010 Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours (Signature Plus, LMP1)
2009 7th, Le Mans Series (Signature Plus)
2008 Le Mans Series (Groupe Pescarolo Automobiles / Team Saulnier Racing)
Le Mans 24 Hours (Groupe Pescarolo Automobiles / Team Saulnier Racing)
2007 International Formula Master (Euronova)
Le Mans Series (Paul Belmondo Racing), LMP2
Le Mans 24 Hours debut
2005 FR 2.0 (Epsilon), French Championship and WSR
2004 FR 2.0 (SG Formula)
2003 2nd, French Formula Campus Renault Elf Championship

Born Chesnay, France, on January 4, 1979 (age: 34)
Singles-eater debut 1999 (Formula Renault)
Endurance racing debut 2003

2011-2012  Development driver (Ligier)
2008-2012  Superleague Formula (Team France-Olympique Lyonnais, Girondins de Bordeaux, FC Porto, Galatasaray), 5 wins, 11 podiums
2010 8th (LMP2), Le Mans 24 Hours (WR Salini)
Development driver (Audi Team Joest, Audi R15+)
2007  Champcar World Series (PKV Racing), 1 pole position, 5 top-five finishes, 2 fastest race laps and 6 top-10 finishes
2006 GP2 Series (Team Is Sport), 5 races, 4 top-five finishes and 1 fastest race lap
2005 4th, World Series by Renault FR 3.5 (KTR), 2 wins, 5 podiums
Le Mans 24 Hours (WR)
2004  World Series by Nissan (Team Saulnier Racing), 5 pole positions, 6 podiums
2003 Formula Renault V6 (Signature), 6 wins, 5 podiums, 6 fastest race laps
Le Mans 24 Hours (factory driver for Dome LMP1 / Racing for Holland), 8th in qualifying
2002  1st, French Formula 3 Championship (ASM), 5 wins, 10 podiums, record number of pole positions in French championship (10), 1st in Macau F3 GP
2001  Formula 3 (ASM), 3 pole positions, 4 podiums
1999 4th, French Formula Renault Championship (Team Mygale), ‘Rookie' of the Year

Signatech's expertise is founded on 22 years of experience in top-flight single-seater racing, and four years in world class endurance racing. It has emerged as one of international motor racing's leading players, with the following results to its name:
§  76 victories
§  47 pole positions
§  472 podium finishes
§  48 fastest race laps
§  15 titles

§  Fastest race lap (LMP2), 2012 6 Hours of Fuji
§  2nd (LMP2), 2012 6 Hours of Bahrain
§  3rd (LMP2), 2012 6 Hours of Silverstone
§  10th overall, 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours (4th in LMP2)
§  2nd (LMP2), 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours
§  1st (LMP2), 2011 ILMC
§  2nd, 2010 LMS
§  2nd, 2011 F3 Euro Series
§  2nd, 2011 LMS
§  1st, 2010 F3 Euro Series
§  1st, F3 World Cup (2003, 2009 and 2010)
§  1st, FIA European F3 Cup (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003)
1st, Formula Renault V6 Europe (2003)

SIGNATECH in brief:
§  Two race team workshops totalling 2,500 sq. metres
§  Total Group turnover: €10,000,000
§  A staff of 40
§  Engineering office (Solidworks prototyping platform)
§  Composites workshop
§  Machine shop
§  Ellip6 simulator for driver training and technical programme development (six-axle full motion driving simulator with three-screen panoramic display).

  • March 26-27 Official ELMS test, Paul Ricard, France
  • April 13 ELMS (round 1), Silverstone, GB
  • May 18 ELMS (round 2), Imola, Italy
  • June 9 Pre-Le Mans 24 Hours test, Le Mans, France
  • June 23 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours, Le Mans, France
  • July 20 ELMS (round 3), Red Bull Ring, Austria
  • September 14 ELMS (round 4), Hungaroring, Hungary
  • September 28 ELMS (found 5), Paul Ricard, France

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