"Blocked" Alpine has to live with fuel mileage disadvantage to WEC Hypercars

Alpine has conceded that it will have to live with its inability to match the fuel mileage of the new Le Mans Hypercars through the 2021 World Endurance Championship season.

"Blocked" Alpine has to live with fuel mileage disadvantage to WEC Hypercars

The French manufacturer claimed pole position for Sunday's Portimao 8 Hours WEC round with its Alpine-Gibson A480 grandfathered LMP1 car, but is facing the prospect of having to make at least one extra pitstop in the race. 

Signatech boss Philippe Sinault, whose team runs the Alpine WEC programme, had argued after the Spa series opener in May for a change to the Balance of Performance to equate the stint length of the A480 and the LMH machinery.

There has been no change for the Portimao fixture in Portugal and Alpine has been told by the rule makers that its problem will not be addressed. 

"We are blocked because they are not going to change the BoP," Sinault told Autosport. 

"We know we have to live with this issue."

The Alpine is not able to use the full amount of energy allocated to it under the BoP because the fuel tank of the ORECA P1 design that formerly raced as the Rebellion R-13 is not big enough. 

This is because the car was developed around the ORECA 07 LMP2 monocoque and therefore has a P2-sized fuel tank of 75 litres. 

This meant the car had to stop two laps earlier than Toyota's new LMH contender, the GR010 HYBRID, at Spa and therefore needed to make one more fuel stop. 

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine 480 Gibson: Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere  

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine 480 Gibson: Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere  

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Thierry Bouvet, technical director of series promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, explained that it would not be correct to reduce the stint length of the LMH machinery to bring the Alpine onto a par with them. 

"It would seem unfair to reduce the laps for LMHs because the stint length has been defined in the regulations for probably two years," he said. 

"It is important to remember that the Alpine is a grandfathered car and there is a limit to which we can play."

The stint length for the new Hypercar class is based on the cars achieving 12 laps between pitstops around the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans. 

The Rebellion typically managed 11 laps per stint at the Le Mans 24 Hours last year. 

Pole winner Matthieu Vaxiviere outlined a hope that Signatech will be able to use strategy to overcome its fuel-mileage deficit in the eight-hour race at the Algarve circuit near Portimao. 

"Maybe with strategy and full course yellows we will can manage it — we have a great team for strategy," he said. 

Sinault added that Signatech is "working on a way to manage the situation". 

"For sure we can improve a little bit and then maybe we can work the ACO and the FIA [which jointly write the WEC regulations] to find a good compromise," he said. 

The WEC 8 Hours of Portimao starts on Sunday June 13 at 11:00 local time (+1 GMT) and will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv.

shares
comments

Related video

Portimao WEC: Alpine beats Toyota to maiden pole position

Previous article

Portimao WEC: Alpine beats Toyota to maiden pole position

Next article

Portimao WEC: Toyota leads the way from Alpine at half-distance

Portimao WEC: Toyota leads the way from Alpine at half-distance
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021