Alpine, the French sports car brand owned by Renault, has entered the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) hypercar category with its new A424 prototype. The A424 is a hybrid-powered machine that combines a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with a 200-kilowatt electric motor, producing a total of 671 horsepower. The car weighs just 1,030 kilograms and has a top speed of over 320 kilometers per hour.

The hypercar category is the highest class of the WEC, which features some of the world's most advanced and powerful racing cars. The category was introduced in 2021 to replace the previous LMP1 class, allowing more freedom and diversity in the design and technology of the cars. The hypercar category also aims to attract more manufacturers and teams to the WEC and create a closer link between the racing cars and the road cars.

The A424 makes its global race debut in Qatar

The Alpine A424 made its global race debut at the Qatar Airways Qatar 1812 KM on March 2, 2024, the opening round of the WEC season. The car, driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Mick Schumacher, and Matthieu Vaxiviere, finished 11th overall and fourth in the hypercar class, behind two Toyota GR010s and a Ferrari SF90. The Alpine team faced some technical issues during the race, such as a puncture, a brake problem, and a fuel leak, but completed the 12-hour endurance challenge.

The Qatar race was a “successful baptism of fire” for the A424, according to Alpine’s director Philippe Sinault. He said the team was “proud” of the car’s performance and reliability and learned a lot from the race. He also praised the drivers for their “exemplary” teamwork, ability to adapt to the new car, and challenging conditions.

The Qatar race was the first of six WEC season rounds, culminating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The other rounds will occur in Bahrain, Belgium, Italy, and Japan. The WEC is one of the world's most prestigious and competitive motorsport championships, featuring some of the industry's best drivers, teams, and manufacturers.

The A424 is the result of months of intense work by Alpine and its partners

The A424 results from months of intense work by Alpine and its partners, such as Oreca, Signatech, and Gibson. The car is based on the Oreca 07 chassis and has been modified to meet hypercar regulations. The engine is supplied by Gibson, a British company specializing in racing engines. The hybrid system was developed by Signatech, a French motorsport engineering firm collaborating with Alpine since 2013.

The A424 is not a completely new car but rather an evolution of the previous Alpine A470, which competed in the LMP2 class of the WEC from 2017 to 2020. The A470 won the LMP2 title in 2019 and 2020 and also finished third overall at Le Mans in 2020. The A424 inherits some of the components and features of the A470, such as the chassis, the gearbox, and the steering wheel, but also incorporates new elements, such as the engine, the hybrid system, the aerodynamics, and the tires.

The A424 is a complex and sophisticated car that requires a lot of testing and fine-tuning to optimize its performance and reliability. The car underwent several sessions of testing and development before its race debut, both on the track and on the simulator. The team also had to adapt to the new rules and regulations of the hypercar category, such as the minimum weight, the maximum power, the fuel consumption, and the balance of performance.

The A424 is a showcase of Alpine’s vision for the future of its road cars

The A424 is not only a racing car but also a showcase of Alpine’s vision for the future of its road cars. The brand, which was revived in 2017 after a 20-year hiatus, aims to become a leader in the electric and hybrid sports car market. The A424’s design, technology, and performance are inspired by Alpine’s heritage and values, such as agility, efficiency, and elegance.

The A424’s design is influenced by the iconic Alpine A110, a lightweight and agile sports car that was launched in 1962 and won several rallies and races in the 1960s and 1970s. The A424 shares some of the distinctive features of the A110, such as the blue color, the round headlights, the curved rear window, and the Alpine logo. The A424 also has some modern and futuristic elements, such as the LED lights, the carbon fiber bodywork, and the aerodynamic wings and diffusers.

The A424’s technology is based on the latest innovations and developments in the electric and hybrid fields. The car uses a lithium-ion battery pack that stores and delivers energy to the electric motor, which is located on the front axle. The car also has a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that converts the braking energy into electrical energy and boosts acceleration. The car has a sophisticated electronic control unit (ECU) that manages the power distribution and the traction control.

The A424’s performance is impressive and competitive, both on the track and on the road. The car can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in less than 3 seconds, and can reach a top speed of over 320 kilometers per hour. The car has a high level of grip and stability, thanks to the four-wheel drive system and the active suspension. The car also has a high level of efficiency and sustainability, thanks to the low fuel consumption and the low carbon emissions.

The A424’s ultimate goal is to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans

The A424’s ultimate goal is to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most prestigious and demanding race in the world. Alpine has a rich history at Le Mans, having won the overall title in 1978 with the Alpine A442B. The A424 hopes to repeat that feat in 2024, when it will face fierce competition from other hypercar manufacturers, such as Toyota, Ferrari, Porsche, and Peugeot.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a legendary race that tests the speed, endurance, and reliability of the cars and the drivers. The race takes place on a 13.6-kilometer circuit that combines public roads and permanent tracks. The race starts at 3 p.m. on a Saturday and ends at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, with the cars running non-stop for 24 hours, covering more than 5,000 kilometers. The race also involves changing weather conditions, day and night driving, and safety car interventions.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is part of the WEC, but it also has its own rules and regulations, such as the qualifying sessions, the starting grid, the pit stops, and the scoring system. The race also has its own traditions and rituals, such as the national anthems, the waving of the French flag, the podium ceremony, and the spraying of champagne. The race also has its own fans and spectators, who come from all over the world to witness the spectacle and the drama of the race.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a race that every driver, team, and manufacturer dreams of winning, as it represents the ultimate challenge and the ultimate glory in motorsport. The race has a history of more than 90 years, and it has seen some of the most memorable and iconic moments, such as the first win of Ford in 1966, the first win of Porsche in 1970, the first win of Audi in 2000, and the first win of Toyota in 2018. The race has also seen some of the most tragic and heroic moments, such as the death of Pierre Levegh in 1955, the comeback of Jacky Ickx in 1969, and the near-miss of Toyota in 2016.

The A424 is a bold and ambitious project reflecting Alpine’s passion for motorsport and innovation. The car is a testament to Alpine’s engineering prowess and commitment to excellence. The A424 is a hypercar that could challenge the best in the world at Le Mans and beyond.


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