Alpine says F1 star Alonso an option if it stays in WEC with new car

Formula 1's Fernando Alonso will be in the frame to race sportscars with Alpine should it stay in the top class of the World Endurance Championship with an all-new car.

Alpine says F1 star Alonso an option if it stays in WEC with new car

The French manufacturer, part of the Renault group, has revealed that it is actively evaluating developing a Le Mans Hypercar or an LMDh prototype for the 2023 or 2024 season.

Alonso, who resumed his F1 career with the marque this year after twice winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota, would be an obvious choice to race such a car, Alpine managing director Laurent Rossi revealed.

"He is one of the biggest ambassadors of the Renault group in motorsports and it would only be natural for us to carry on beyond F1, god knows when beyond F1 means for him," said Rossi.

"If we do endurance [racing] in the future it would be ideal at some point to have him in the team."

He said that Alonso would be visiting Le Mans this weekend along with F1 team-mate Esteban Ocon because "Alpine loves Le Mans and endurance".

Rossi revealed that Alpine "is looking at various ways to carry on our presence in endurance" beyond the life of the current programme with the grandfathered Alpine-Gibson A480 LMP1, which in theory cannot race on in the WEC next year.

"It could be LMH, it could be LMDh: I am looking at it with a very positive, keen eye," he said, adding that the marque is "strongly considering" building a new prototype.

Rossi would not be drawn on which route Alpine favours.

"I’m not going to go into too many details because there are elements to the decision and I don’t want to give too much away," he said.

He described sportscar racing at the highest level as "complementary to F1" for Alpine.

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson: André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson: André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

He said that Alpine was looking at a new contender coming on stream in either 2023, the first year of the LMP2-based LMDh hybrid category, or 2024, but stressed that a decision is not imminent.

Le Mans 24 2021:

"Between now and the end of the year we will form an opinion on all these things: if we carry on, in which category and in which timeline," he explained.

"We haven’t made a decision yet because we need a bit more time to look at all the parameters.

"That is basically the economic equation and the thought of what it takes for us to carry on to race in endurance, but with a chance of winning."

He suggested that it is unlikely that Alonso, who has intimated that he intends to stay at Alpine until 2024, would race sportscars while he remains in F1.

"I don't think it is feasible," he said.

It is likely that Alpine would employ the technical resources of its F1 factory at Enstone should it develop a new prototype.

"The idea is to try and leverage the expertise," Rossi explained.

"It is not identical, clearly not, but there are overlaps between the fields."

Rossi confirmed that the French Signatech squad would remain Alpine's partner team and didn't rule out lobbying to be able to continue to use the present A480 into 2022 should it decide to built a new car.

The current commitment from the WEC rulemakers, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, allows privateer LMP1 machinery to race in the Hypercar class only for the current campaign.

shares
comments

Related video

Hydrogen cars to be able to fight for outright Le Mans 24 Hours win
Previous article

Hydrogen cars to be able to fight for outright Le Mans 24 Hours win

Next article

HubAuto: Le Mans pole can inspire other privateers to try GTE Pro

HubAuto: Le Mans pole can inspire other privateers to try GTE Pro
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022