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Alpine completes first full test with new LMDh challenger

Alpine has completed its first full-blown test with its new LMDh challenger ahead of its return to the top class of the World Endurance Championship in 2024.

Alpine A424 Beta

The new Alpine A424 was put through its paces for three consecutive days at Paul Ricard this week, following an initial rollout on 2 August and a shakedown at Le Castellet Airport on Monday.

WEC stalwart Nicolas Lapierre completed the first runs in the car on Monday and Tuesday before handing over the driving duties to Matthieu Vaxiviere on Wednesday. Vaxiviere and fellow Frenchman Charles Milesi took turns driving the A424 on the final day of Paul Ricard testing on Thursday.

The purpose of the test was to get to grips with the car and begin operational work on main components, including gearbox, brakes and the cooling system. A lot of work was also put on mapping of its hybrid engine.

By the end of running on Thursday, Alpine had racked up over 1000km in its LMDh prototype and reported no major issues.

The French manufacturer has planned several more tests with the car in the coming months, including in Spain in September, before the car joins the WEC field in Qatar for the first round of the 2024 season on 2 March.

“For the first time in our history, we have the opportunity to be involved in such a large-scale project right from the start,” Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault said. 

"Seeing the A424 take to the track for the first time was a real thrill. This project also brings its share of challenges, as the Alpine Racing teams and our own [Signatech] are working together to get the most out of the Alpine A424. 

Alpine A424 Beta

Alpine A424 Beta

Photo by: Alpine

“The first overall impression is rather positive, and the absence of blocking problems since the first laps has enabled us to get to know the car fairly quickly. Our knowledge of the car will grow as the development tests continue.”

Alpine’s new LMDh racer was officially unveiled to the world on the eve of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, featuring a striking blue and red livery. 

Based on Oreca’s next generation LMP2 chassis, like the Acura ARX-06 that competes in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the Alpine A424 is powered by a 3.4-litre, single turbo V6 engine and a spec hybrid system supplied by Bosch, Xtrac and Williams Advanced Engineering.

Alpine last competed in the Hypercar class of the WEC in 2021-22 with the grandfathered A480 LMP1 car, which previously raced under the Rebellion R-13 guise, scoring wins at Sebring and Monza last year against stiff competition from Toyota.

It is spending the 2023 WEC season competing in the LMP2 class in order to prepare for its 2024 Hypercar assault, when it will field two examples of the new A424.

Alpine’s entry will further bolster WEC’s top category for LMH and LMDh machinery, with BMW and Lamborghini also joining the championship next year. At least eight manufacturers are expected to fight for overall wins in the WEC and the Le Mans next year, including current entrants Toyota, Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot and Cadillac.

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