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Little Classics News: 1 July 2014

Alpine to Send Heritage Fleet to LeMans Classic

Alpine to Send Heritage Fleet to Le Mans Classic

The revival of Alpine, with the launch of the ‘Berlinette of the 21st Century’ due in 2016, is founded on the legendary brand’s outstanding heritage. To showcase this link between the past and present, a number of classic Alpines will be in action at this year’s Le Mans Classic on 4th-6th July.

The biennial Le Mans Classic attracts an entry of several thousand participants who all share a common passion for cars. First organised in 2002, it provides spectators with an extraordinary look back at Le Mans 24 Hours races of the past through the presence of 450 cars split into distinct fields covering different periods from 1923 to 1979. It is a chance for the members of hundreds of clubs to get together, while the Le Mans Héritage Club ‘concours’ is one of the French event’s highlights.

For the seventh edition of the fixture, Renault Classic has entered three factory Alpines which will be driven by a number of famous drivers, including former Le Mans participants and celebrities from the automobile world.

The cars

  • Alpine M65: Piotr Frankowski (Poland) / Richard Meaden (Great Britain)
  • Alpine-Renault A110 1300S: Jean-Pierre Prévost (France) / Christian Chambord (France)
  • Renault-Alpine A443: Jean Ragnotti (France) / Alain Serpaggi (France)

Alongside these three Alpines, other models of the brand have been entered for the ‘concours’ by private entrants.

The maiden appearance at Le Mans of one of the cars produced by the brand founded by Jean Rédélé dates back to 1963 when three Alpine M63s lined up for the start. That marked the beginning of an association with the race which covered three periods.

From 1963 to 1969, a number of ‘small’ Alpines were entered in a bid to win their class, as well as the performance and energy efficiency index prizes. This is known as the ‘blue’ period.

From 1973, when the brand was acquired by Renault, a new, ambitious campaign meant that Alpine was able to target overall victory. In 1976, the first Renault-Alpine of the so-called ‘yellow’ period qualified on pole position and posted the fastest race lap. Two years later, the programme was rewarded by Alpine’s historic Le Mans win in 1978.

Thirty-five years later, Alpine returned to Le Mans in 2013. The Alpine A450 prototype sported the same magnificent blue paintwork of its predecessors and was hoping for a strong finish in the race’s LM P2 class. That familiarisation participation was followed by seventh overall and a podium finish in the car’s class in 2014!


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