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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Alpine gets power reduction in late Le Mans BoP change

Alpine has received a fresh Balance of Performance hit ahead of this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours. 

#36 Alpine Elf Team Alpine A480 - Gibson LMP1 of André Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

The Gibson V8 engine that powers the Alpine A480 grandfathered LMP1 has been given a 10kW or 13bhp power reduction for the double-points round of the World Endurance Championship, which starts on Saturday.

The latest BoP change for the Hypercar class follows previous adjustments for the Alpine ahead of the official Le Mans test day and then prior to the Hyperpole qualifying session on Thursday

The Alpine was given a 7kW (9bhp) break after the A480 proved off the pace in last weekend’s test and then Wednesday’s sessions.

The maximum power for the French car, which started life as the Rebellion R-13, now stands at 417kW, which compares with the 420kW at which it started the Le Mans meeting. 

The team complained of a lack of straightline speed, which left it approximately 10km/h down on the Toyota and Glickenhaus Le Mans Hypercars through the speed traps on the Mulsanne Straight.

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Alpine improved by nearly five seconds between Wednesday and Thursday, as Nicolas Lapierre qualified in third position behind the two Toyota GR010 Hybrids in the Hyperpole session on Thursday evening with a lap of 3m24.850s. 

That compared with the car’s previous best of the week of 3m29.259s set in FP3 by Matthieu Vaxiviere.

The increase in power for the Alpine between the two days of practice and qualifying had brought it close to the level at which it won the Sebring 1000 Miles WEC round in March. 

#36 Alpine ELF Team Alpine A480 ? Gibson Hypercar of André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

#36 Alpine ELF Team Alpine A480 ? Gibson Hypercar of André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Lapierre denied accusations of sandbagging after qualifying, claiming that the increase in engine power was only responsible for a small part of the time gain by the Alpine.

“Our estimation is that 7kW is worth five or seven tenths,” he told Autosport.

“It is more down to us: we didn’t do any qually simulations in practice and we were really focusing on preparing for the race. 

“The car was really working in the conditions [during qualifying] and I had a beautiful lap - I had a slipstream from an LMP2 car as well.

“We really had a good qualifying, while it was much more messy for the others with track limits [penalties].” 

The energy allowed to Alpine between pitstops, which is used to equate the stint lengths of the car, has decreased in line with the power reduction.

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