Category Archives: Endurance

The Alpine Elf Europa Cup heads towards 2019!

Following its successful two-year renaissance, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup is planning a promising 2020 season with a revitalised calendar and new incentives to offer drivers unique opportunities to move up the motor racing pyramid.

A month after the season-finale at Circuit Paul Ricard, preparations have already begun for the 2020 Alpine Elf Europa Cup.

More than a dozen drivers have expressed their intention to return to take their revenge, like Marc Guillot and Junior category winner Mattéo Herrero. Gentleman drivers like Pierre Macchi and Marc Sevestre have also stated their desire to show the progress they’ve made in this ever-competitive field set to be reinforced with new French and foreign teams who want join the action.

One week before the prize-giving ceremony last Friday in Paris, some returned to the track at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for two days of testing, joined by new faces at the wheel of the Alpine A110 Cups like the promising Lilou Wadoux.

At the same time, Alpine and Signatech, the organizers of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup have revealed the key points for the 2020 season.

THE 2020 CALENDAR REVEALED

An FIA sanctioned international series, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup has been a big hit with motorsport fans in its first two seasons supporting the renaissance of the Alpine brand.

The 2020 season will make the most of this asset with a 12-race, six-round calendar featuring on the same bill with major professional championships.

The season will, once again, kick-off at Circuit Paul-Armagnac de Nogaro (France) followed by Circuit Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), before heading to the first of two new stops on the calendar: Misano (Italy).

After the summer break, the action will resume in Barcelona (Spain), then at Circuit Paul Ricard (France) before an all-new season-finale for the Alpine A110 Cups at Portimao (Portugal).

The weekend format will also return with an extremely advantageous total track time of three hours while two drivers can still share the same Alpine A110 Cup at the same meeting.

A MORE COMPLETE ALPINE A110 CUP

For 2020, Signatech will next year introduce two technical updates designed to increase customer and owner satisfaction to the highest level.

As with the GT4 version, the Alpine A110 Cup will feature a major gearbox improvement to increase reliability and offer the possibility to compete in endurance races outside the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. In addition, updated engine wiring will be deployed to include “military” quality elements.

The price of a new Alpine A110 Cup will remain at 115,000€ +vat, to which 5,000€ will be deducted if it enters the 2020 season.

ATTRACTIVE PRIZE PACKAGE

Once again, next year, 160,000€ will be up for grabs throughout the season across the three categories: General, Junior and Gentleman.

The 2020 Alpine Elf Europa Cup title winner will receive an Alpine A110 road car or a prize valued at 50,000€ +vat if he wants to defend his crown or move up the racing ladder behind the wheel of an Alpine A110 GT4.

The highest placed driver in the Junior category will have the choice between a test with the Signatech Alpine Elf LMP2 team and the Alpine A470 or a prize of 20,000€ to fight for the overall title in 2021. The Gentleman category laureate will receive a test in the Alpine A110 GT4 and a 10,000€ bonus.

Furthermore, entered drivers will receive a package of products and services included in their entry: driver suit and Alpine apparel, access to the Alpine Elf Europa Cup hospitality area, communication, technical support from Signatech (chassis), Oreca (engine) and Michelin (tyres), the presence of a spare parts shop at the events…

With more than 100 days to go before the start of the 2020 season, everything has come together to propose a more competitive campaign with the emergence of specialists and the arrival of new competitors determined to win with Alpine!

2020 Calendar

April 11-13: Nogaro (France) – FFSA GT
June 5-7: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) – GT Open
July 3-5: Misano (Italy) – GT World Challenge Europe
September 4-5: Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain) – 24 Hours of Barcelona
October 2-4: Le Castellet (France) – FFSA GT
October 16-18: Portimao (Portugal) – ELMS

Schedule

Free practices: 2×40 minutes per meeting
Qualifying sessions: 2×20 minutes per meeting
Races: 2×25 minutes + 1 lap per meeting
Total track time: 3 hours per race weekend

In numbers

Alpine A110 Cup : 115,000 € +vat 1
2020 season entry fee: 20,000€ +vat 2
Entry per event: 4,000€ +vat
Bonuses and awards: 160,000€

1 A 5,000€ spare parts package offered with the 2020 season entry.
2 2,000€ deducted if three rounds minimum have been contested in 2019.

Alpine A110 Cup

Weight: 1,050 kg
Chassis: Aluminium monocoque
Engine: 4 cylinders 1.8L 16v with 270hp
Gearbox: 3MO Sequential 6-speed
Differential: Self-locking limited slip
Wheels: Aluminium, 9×18’’ (Front) and 10×18’’ (Rear)
Tyres: Michelin 25-64×18 (Front) and 27-65×18 (Rear)
Brakes: 6 Brembo calipers (Front) and 4 calipers (Rear), ABS Bosch
Safety: Custom seat with Sabelt six-point roll cage
Steering wheel: XAP with integrated paddle shifter
Tank: FIA FT3 homologated, 95 litres
Other: Adjustable traction control

ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GTE DOMINATES IN SIX HOURS OF FUJI

– Aston Martin Racing clinches first Vantage GTE victory of WEC season
– First double-class victory first for Aston Martin Vantage GTE in WEC
– Team earns first double-podium for Vantage as sister car finishes third
– TF Sport captures first win in WEC to cap an amazing month for team

Sunday 6 October, 2019, Fuji Speedway, Japan. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE clinched its first double victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the car winning both the GTE Pro and Am classes of the 6 Hours of Fuji. It was Aston Martin’s first double triumph since the team managed it in Mexico in 2016.

Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim delivered a perfectly-judged performance with the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE Pro car in Japan, to deliver their first win of the 2019-2020 season and their second since the car was introduced in May 2018.

Meanwhile in GTE Am TF Sport dominated the race with a lights-to-flag victory, having started from the class pole position. Sørensen began the race from third, but quickly moved up to second in a first hour that stood out for its fantastically close racing between the three manufacturer teams in the Pro class. Once in front, thanks to a brilliant pass for the lead by the Dane on the pit straight using the tow of backmarker, he and team-mate Nicki Thiim (DEN) were able to establish control of the race. The duo did briefly lose the lead to their team-mates Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) in the #97 car, who undercut the #95 on an alternative strategy in the second hour, but after that the Danes managed the race and the intermittent rainy conditions perfectly. Lynn and Martin brought the sister Vantage GTE home in third, marking the first time the car has recorded a double-podium finish in GTE Pro.

It was the fifth win for Thiim and Sørensen in the Dane Train, and the third victory for the Vantage GTE in the last six WEC events. It means that the Danes are now second in the GTE Pro drivers’ standing, one point off the lead, while Aston Martin is also second in the Manufacturers’ Championship with 65 points.

“Winning a race like the one we did today is why we all do it,” said Sørensen. “It was great to be involved in the fight for the lead in the first hour of the race, and because we were leading, after that the race seemed to fly by. This was an important win for Aston Martin and and I am very proud for the team. I’m delighted.” Thiim added: “It is a great feeling to be standing here as a winner. WEC GTE Pro has some of the best racing on the planet as you saw today. It was so close that we had to split strategies on the two cars to cover off the competition. That worked well for us and I’m really proud of the team who have worked so hard for this. They kept their focus and had the right mentality today which was why we were able to capitalise on the car’s pace.
This is a fantastic result for Aston Martin.”

In only the second race since the Vantage GTE became eligible to race in the Am class, TF Sport produced an outstanding performance. Having started from pole position the bright red #90 car led all the way. Salih Yoluc became the first Turkish driver to win a WEC event, while for AMR works drivers Jonny Adam (GB) and Charlie Eastwood (IRL) it was the end of a long wait. TF Sport has finished second four times in the last two seasons prior to this win.

Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw added, “This result is the perfect demonstration of the Vantage GTE’s potential. It was a great performance by the two Danes. Marco drove extremely well in the first hour and Nicki was outstanding throughout his stint and when the rain came. This was also the first opportunity for us to see our Technical partner Michelin’s new tyres in action on an equal footing in the dry against our rivals, and I think we’ve proven that we are very much in the fight. That Alex and Max also finished on the podium rounded off an excellent team effort. It was indeed a great day for Aston Martin, and I would like to wish TF Sport congratulations on an excellent and long overdue win in the GTE Am class.”

The next round of the FIA WEC takes place at Shanghai, in China, on 10 November.

A terrific comeback!

The FIA World Endurance Championship began today with the 4 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain).

Thanks to a shift in strategy, Signatech Alpine Elf finished second in the LMP2 category with a last-lap pass and positions itself as a candidate to its own succession.

After a ninth consecutive podium finish for the team, the trio of Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues looks ahead to Fuji (6 October).

The season got underway on Friday with two productive free practice sessions, then a third prior to Saturday qualifying. The timed exercise was entrusted to Thomas Laurent and Pierre Ragues, who posted the fifth best time in LMP2.

After the tragic loss of Anthoine Hubert the previous day, hearts were heavy when André Negrão got behind the wheel for the start of the 4 Hours of Silverstone. Boxed in at the inside of turn one by an LMP1 car, the Brazilian lost a position before striking back to move into fourth place ahead of the first safety car period.

Contrary to the majority of its rivals, the Signatech Alpine Elf team stayed out as long as possible before its first stop and Andre Negrão gave it all he had in the battle during his second stint before handing over to Pierre Ragues at the 90-minute mark of the race.

The Frenchman soon had to come back to the pits as it began to rain. In these tricky conditions in his first race in the Alpine A470 in more than two years, Pierre pushed as hard as he could with the intermediate tyres before the second safety car period at the mid-way point of the race.

Meanwhile, the track began to dry and Thomas Laurent took over with an hour and 40 minutes remaining. For his first race with the French squad, he was sixth when the race resumed and soon made a stout overtake on the n°47 Cetilar Racing entry.

As the various strategies faded, the newcomer to the team increased his pace in his second stint before a perfectly executed stop by the team with 20 minutes to go. Leaving the pits in third place, Thomas put the hammer down in the final minutes to close right up to the n°29 Racing Team Nederlands car and snatch second place on the last lap of the race.

With this ninth consecutive podium finish and big points on the board, Signatech Alpine Elf hopes to continue its streak and confirm this strong start to the season at the next round, the 6 Hours of Fuji on 6 October.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Elf

“We are satisfied with the result of this first race, because our goal was to make a good start to the season and take a ninth straight podium finish. Despite a small technical issue in qualifying, we were quite relaxed after that. Andre put in an excellent start with a different strategy than our rivals, who stopped during the first safety car period. We wanted to reduce the number of stops and it paid off just until the second safety car which didn’t work out in our favour. Pierre still stayed within striking distance and didn’t make any mistakes while dealing with the trickier conditions. Thomas was able to put in a great comeback drive that finished in style on the last lap. I think that we did a good job with the championship in mind, although we did get an idea of how competitive the season is going to be with so many fantastic driver line-ups and top-notch teams among the contenders.”

Thomas Laurent

“It was a busy race with a lot of traffic, tyre management and some great overtakes. I wasn’t sure we would be on the podium when I got in the car and I got caught up in a false pace in my opening stint. I wore out my front-tyres in traffic, but the team put on new left-side tyres to pick up the pace before our final and super-fast stop. The podium was looking out of reach, but I managed to pull away from the guys behind me and was able to take a second place that had looked to be impossible a few minutes before. The team and my team mates did a fantastic job and this result is perfect for my first race with them!”

André Negrão 

André Negrão 

“It had been a long time since I was so nervous as it was such a difficult race! My stint could have been better if I had been a little more aggressive at the start, but the team made huge strides forward with the strategy and set-ups that let us move from fifth to second place. It is always good to score a lot of points straight away when the championship promises to be very competitive with so many serious title contenders behind us. We now look towards Fuji, a meeting that we need to prepare seriously as the conditions are difficult there.”

Pierre Ragues

“We knew there was a chance of rain, b

 

Pierre Ragues

“We knew there was a chance of rain, but the timing didn’t work out in our favour because it began to sprinkle on just my second lap. The team was very quick to switch to intermediate tyres, which are always hard to figure out in race conditions, but I did my best to keep a solid pace and hand over to Thomas in the best conditions. André put in a great start of the race and Thomas drove a perfect end of the race, so our efforts were rewarded during this very emotional weekend. As a French driver in a French team, it was hard to not think of Anthoine Hubert today and we all wanted to honour him.”

Classifications

4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP2
1. Cool Racing n°42 – 124 laps
2. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 +49.311s
3. Racing Team Nederland n°29 +51.733s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 +58.972s
5. JOTA n°38 +59.457s
6. Cetilar Racing n°33 + 2 laps
7. High Class Racing n°33 + 2 laps
NC. United Autosports n°22

FIA LMP2 Teams’ Trophy
1. Cool Racing n°42 – 25 points
2. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 – 18 points
3. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 16 points
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 12 points
5. JOTA n°38 – 10 points
6. Cetilar Racing n°33 – 8 points
7. High Class Racing n°33 – 6 points
NC. United Autosports n°22

Signatech Alpine Elf completes its line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season

Two weeks prior to the Barcelona Prologue, Signatech Alpine Elf reveals its full driver line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
2013 ELMS champion and LMP2 podium finisher in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alpine, Pierre Ragues rejoins the squad to team with Thomas Laurent and André Negrão.
The team thanks Pierre Thiriet for proudly defending its colours in winning another world title and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory.

Following the official announcement of up and coming French hopeful Thomas Laurent alongside André Negrão during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Elf is able to announce the return of Pierre Ragues to the team.

Pierre Thiriet has decided to focus on new personal and professional challenges and the Philippe Sinault run team has decided to call upon a driver they now particularly well to replace him.

After finishing runner-up in the 2003 Formula Campus championship, Pierre Ragues raced in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006. Two years later, he finished on the LMP2 podium before joining the Signature-Alpine team, with whom he won the first Alpine title in the 2013 European Le Mans Series season.

After setting off for other challenges in the ELMS then the FIA WEC, Pierre returned to the French squad in 2017 with a part-time programme highlighted by a fourth-place overall finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and third in the LMP2 category. Since then, he has continued to star in the ELMS with two more podium results.

The trio of Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues will aim for a third world title for Alpine as well as a third consecutive LMP2 victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team will begin its preparations on Tuesday July 23 and Wednesday July 24 at the Prologue at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“We would first like to thank Pierre Thiriet for playing an extremely important part in our latest victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and our FIA World Endurance Championship title reconquest. He made no mistakes while putting in a perfect drive at Le Mans.”

“We had the opportunity to bring Pierre Ragues back in to the team and everything fell naturally into place. We share the same sporting and human values, which represents both a time saving and a guarantee of competitiveness. In addition, his atypical and versatile profile has always made him one of the best Alpine ambassadors both on and off track. We are carrying on the continuity we have shown these past few years with a strong, coherent and complementary driver line-up. We are now very excited to return to the track in two weeks in Barcelona!”

Signatech Alpine Matmut doubles up: victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the LMP2 world title!

At the end of a challenging edition, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team has won the LMP2 category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third time in four years.

With eight podium results in as many races, Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet have taken the second crown for Alpine in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

This resounding victory concludes a week that included the presentation of the new Alpine A110S.

Sticking to tradition, the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans began at 15:00 on Saturday and Nicolas Lapierre immediately picked up one position to move up to second place in the LMP2 category.

Staying out longer that his most serious rivals, the Frenchman was in the lead on the eighth lap. Once his first double-stint was done, the Signatech Alpine Matmut driver completed a triple-stint while trying to contain the n°26 G-Drive, whose return was eased by a more aggressive strategy. 

This duel continued when the driving duties were handed over to Pierre Thiriet, then André Negrão, who got into the car at the beginning of hour six. 

As the sun set, the yellow flags, slow zones and neutralizations multiplied as it began to sprinkle at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The Brazilian drove brilliantly in the tricky conditions to put the Alpine A470 into the lead again before his rival answered back, on fresher tyres.

Following a pit stop affected by another LMP2 competitor at the one-third mark of the race, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet took over to chase down the leaders.

The French had his share of misadventures during the night as two neutralizations in his first two stints radically changed the physiognomy of the race. The safety car intervened between the n°26 and n°36 Alpine A470 costing Les Bleus a minute in the first intervention, then precious seconds in the second safety car period.

Relegated to two and a half minutes from the leaders, Pierre Thiriet completed his triple-stint before letting André Negrão and Nicolas Lapierre go on the attack before dawn. While they made up a minute in the early hours of Sunday morning, their efforts were annihilated by the accident of the n°31 Dragonspeed, which brought the safety car out yet again. 

In the aftermath, the team adjusted its strategy by sending Pierre Thiriet out seven hours from the finish. The team’s determination and perseverance finally paid dividends when the leaders remained in the pits just after 9:00. The Alpine A470 moved into the lead with a one lap advantage from its closest rival and last challenger still in the title fight. 

From then on, the trio continued to set competitive times while managing their lead and equipment.

After the last stint of André Negrão, Pierre Thiriet went back out to reach his minimum time in the car before Nicolas Lapierre got back in to finish the race.

In his final race with Alpine, Nico took the chequered flag to take his third win at Le Mans in four participations with the French brand. 

This victory is also the third for Signatech Alpine Matmut at Le Mans, following its successes in 2016 and 2018, and the fifth podium in the LMP2 category since 2014. And this triumph ahead of the n°38 Jackie Chan DC Racing sees Alpine score its second LMP2 title in the FIA World Endurance Championship, following its 2016 crown… A crown the team will be ready to defend at the opening round of the 2019-2020 season on September 1st at Silverstone!

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“I said we were ready and we truly were. The competition was just as ready, which made for a very intense start to the race with a much faster pace than usual. This promised a long and fantastic battle, where we were not surprised to find ourselves mixing it up with the main contenders for the win and the title. We were very tightly bunched just until night fall, then, yet again, Le Mans chose its champion. You have to be ready and present in these conditions. We were in every aspect: the car stayed out of the gravel areas, we made the right choices, had great communication and we adapted. This is the key for an event of this stature and we really enjoyed ourselves. This victory has a special meaning compared to last year’s, because we were able to celebrate together right after the race and we got to hear the French national anthem on the podium. We will have to quickly get back to business because the next challenge, the prologue, will be here before you know it!”

Nicolas Lapierre

“What a day for us and the entire team! It was essential and crucial in the outcome of the championship and this legendary race that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We worked for more than a year to attain both of these objectives. We decided to give priority to the world championship title, but once the race started, we fought with all we had against G-Drive. They were not a championship rival, but we had to respect this legendary race by fighting for the victory. Our work paid off and the win clinched the title for us. It is a very big mix of emotions, but also satisfaction of a job accomplished in a race that was very hard and competitive. For me personally, this is my last race with Alpine. Maybe we will reunite in the future, but it was important to finish the way we did and we can’t be anything but proud of this team and everything we have achieved together.” 

André Negrão 

“The top step of the podium is truly a magical place and I am proud to be there with Alpine and the entire team. Not only did we win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second straight year, we also won the championship. I am in heaven and I think I am the happiest among us today. I have just won my first title and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I want to give a humungous thank you to the Signatech Alpine Matmut team, to Philippe as well as Alpine and everyone that has believed in me, supported me and allowed us to achieve this wonderful double together.”

Pierre Thiriet

“It was a crazy race. The battle was really intense and contested, but we expected it against quality competitors who were clean and fair on the track. I really want underscore the job the team has done in preparing for every round and that was clear this weekend. There were no issues with the car and none of the three of us made a driver error. I think that is the key to succeeding in LMP2 as the smallest trouble forces you to push to get back in the race. We are a very close-knit family with an excellent team spirit. It is an important aspect and it makes us twice as happy today. Nico and André did an incredible job, as did the entire team. We were inspired by the huge support from the fans and media for Alpine and its team that had two French drivers. I want to give a shout out to Jota. They have been outstanding adversaries during this fantastic season. Their speed pushed us to progress and raise our game and it was an honour to battle against them!”

24 Hours of Le Mans – LMP2
1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 368 laps
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 +1 lap
3. TDS Racing n°28 + 2 laps
4. United Autosports n°22 +3 laps
5. IDEC Sport n°48 +4 laps 
6. G-Drive Racing n°26 +4 laps
7. Duqueine Engineering n°30 + 5 laps 
8. Panis Barthez Compétition n°23 + 6 laps 
9. Graff n°39 + 6 laps
10. Algarve Pro Racing n°25 +11 laps

Teams FIA Endurance Trophy LMP2
1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 181 points
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 166 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 138 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 117 points
5. Larbre Competition n°50 – 85 points
6. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 85 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 66 points

ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GTE TAKES DRAMATIC WIN AT SNOWY SPA

New Vantage GTE takes second win of the FIA WEC Super Season
Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin record first victory for Aston Martin Racing
GTE Am championship contenders TF Sport finish second with V8 Vantage

Saturday 4 May, Spa-Francorchamps: The new Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE recorded its second FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro class victory in one of the most dramatic, unique and snow-affected sportscar races ever to be held at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Driving the #97 Vantage GTE, Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB), delivered a perfectly judged win in a race that featured everything, including four safety car periods and frequent heavy snow showers. The last of these caused the red-flag that halted the race ten minutes early while Martin was holding a slender lead in incredibly difficult conditions. This was the first win for the #97 car since the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours and marked a maiden win for Martin and Lynn as Aston Martin Racing drivers on the first anniversary of the Vantage GTE’s debut.

The #97 crew were in contention from the start and the team made a sequence of prescient strategy calls allowing them to stay ahead of both the unseasonal weather and the changing order in a highly competitive race. Martin, who survived early contact from a rival at the start, delivered a strong first stint to manage the early snow storms and hand the car over to Lynn in third.

The Briton forged his way to the front of the field, with a charge that included a brilliant pass around the outside of Blanchimont on the leading Porsche, before handing back to Martin. The Belgian then managed his tyres and his fuel intelligently through a lengthy final Safety Car period and found himself defending his lead from his closest rival as the race went back to green with 15 minutes to go. Martin called upon all of his vast experience and knowledge of Spa to build a small gap before the organisers threw out the red flag once and for all as conditions deteriorated.

“This was amazing,” said Martin, who drove for an extraordinary three hours and 41 minutes. “We’ve not always been lucky so far in this campaign, but to get to the end of the season with a win like this, at my home race at Spa, is the best way to capture my first win for Aston Martin. We were really competitive but the conditions were really hard. Strategy played a big part in this result and sometimes it was a bit of a gamble. This race had everything, which made it even better to win it. The team did an amazing job, we were quick in the pitstops, we were quick in both conditions and Alex did a fantastic job too, so in the end it was a proper team win.

” Lynn added: “This was a very emotional win for our crew. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to get some good results this year and fate has not played in our favour. This weekend, honestly, the car has been really fast and to win today is such a special feeling. The whole crew managed a flawless race and it’s amazing to get my first win for Aston Martin Racing.”

The sister #95 Vantage GTE, driven by Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, finished seventh having run competitively early on in the race. Misfortune befell the car mid-race, but Thiim was charging back through the order when the red flag called an early halt to the race.

In GTE Am, Aston Martin Racing partner team TF Sport recorded a brilliant second place with Salih Yoluc (TUR), AMR Junior driver Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Euan Hankey on the venerable V8 Vantage GTE having started from the class pole. The reigning world champions Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Pedro Lamy (GB) and Mathias Lauda (A) finished in sixth position in the #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage having led for various portions of the race. Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw said: “This was a very tough race today, but probably one of our best ever team performances. This was a great time to do it just before Le Mans and also this victory means that both the #95 and #97 crews have delivered a victory with the Aston Martin Vantage GTE in its first year. If we’d said at the start of the year that both cars would have won a race before we went to Le Mans we would have been very happy. The #97 car has been on it all weekend and the guys have deserved this win. The #95 car was unlucky not to have been on the podium as well, but we split the strategies through the race to maximise our chance of victory, which we might not have done if we were fighting for a championship. But this is the perfect preparation for Le Mans.”

The final round of the championship, the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, takes place on Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Signatech Alpine Matmut reclaims the championship lead after another podium at Spa

Signatech Alpine Matmut takes its seventh consecutive podium in the LMP2 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
  • André Negrão, Pierre Thiriet and Nicolas Lapierre finished third in apocalyptic conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.
  • The no.36 Alpine A470 takes command of the championship heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans finale (June 15-16).

Beginning on Thursday, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team and the entire field was welcomed to Spa-Francorchamps by extremely difficult and unpredictable weather. 

Following a first session focused on set-up, the no.36 Alpine A470 was caught out by the rain in the afternoon. The French squad still managed to gather a trove of information in the final session before André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet went on to qualifying fifth in LMP2. 

The race began under threatening skies at 13:30 on Saturday. First in the car, André Negrão immediately picked up a place, but it began to rain at the end of lap two. 

Very quickly, the conditions became hellish as light snow began to fall and the temperature dropped to 1°C. The Brazilian came in for Michelin rain tyres, then the team adapted its strategy thanks to a lightning pit-stop at the end of the first safety car period. 

Alpine’s rivals switched to slicks during a break in the weather as well as the second neutralization, and Andre Negrão emerged in the overall lead before handing over to Pierre Thiriet as the third hour began. 

On a dry track surface, the French driver put in a solid double-stint by combining speed and consistency at half-distance, but Ho-Pin Tung managed to surprise him just before the storms returned.

Nicolas Lapierre took over to pour the pressure on the Chinese driver. While hail pelted Spa-Francorchamps, the Platinum driver made his stop a lap earlier than his competitor to retake the lead.

The advantage that he quickly built was reduced to zero by another safety car intervention. Pastor Maldonado made the most of it as the race entered the final hour. Following another pause in the action, Nicolas Lapierre continued his triple-stint being third with 15 minutes remaining while the two cars in front of him still had to stop.

The torrential conditions and sometimes-precarious visibility forced the race stewards to wave the red flag 11 minutes from the chequers. Despite an error-free effort from the drivers on the track and the team with the strategy, the Alpine A470 had to settle for third place, which runs its series of consecutive podium finishes to seven and gains the upper hand from the championship rivals.

The final round of the reconquest will take place next month at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“In my 29 years in this sport, I have never been involved in a race where it snowed! it was hard to get the right tyres and operating window in these hellish conditions, especially as we are still learning the Michelins. Nevertheless, we did a very good job because our undercut strategy saw us take the lead in LMP2 and overall after a relative sub-par qualifying run. We led for more than half of the race, the drivers made no mistakes and the team was fantastic in being by far the fastest in the pits. However, I am a bit bitter because victory was within our grasp if not for the last two safety cars… The field regrouped, one team did not have to stop and another did not reach the minimum driving time of its Silver driver, which became inconsequential with the red flag. The team deserved better, but the most important thing is that we reached our main target. We will head to Le Mans with the lead in both championships. As we have always said, the titles will be decided at the 24 Hours and we cannot wait to be there!”

Nicolas Lapierre

“We did the most important as we wanted to keep the lead of the Drivers’ championship while taking control of the Teams’ classification. We also learned a lot about the Michelins in all conditions, but there is still a little disappointment because the two cars ahead of us would have had to make another stop to finish the race. The entire team did an excellent job on the strategy, and we didn’t turn a wheel wrong. This was our race to win if not for the red flag, but we are already looking ahead to Le Mans, where we will arrive more serene and in a position of strength.”

André Negrão 

“The race was very tricky with snow, rain and clear skies from start to finish. There were a lot of highs and lows, but we made no mistakes. We all worked very well and we will battle for the title just until the end. I am very happy with our performance and our result, even though it could have been better without the red flag. Motorsport is sometimes like that and now it’s time to focus on Le Mans!”

Pierre Thiriet

“I am very pleased, because I had a lot of fun in my double-stint. I was confident and the car was fast. We did a fantastic job as a team, especially with the strategy and in the pits. Our risks paid off and my two team-mates managed to get the very most out of the car in extremely tough conditions. We deserved to be better rewarded, but there are still a lot of positives to take from the race and just one team ahead of us was eligible to score points. It will be all to play for at Le Mans and we will arrive in the best conditions.”

Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – LMP2
1. DragonSpeed n°31 129 laps
2. G-Drive Racing n°26 +3.955s
3. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +4.432s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 +8.627s
5. TDS Racing n°28 + 1 lap
6. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 2 laps 
7. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 + 2 laps
8. Larbre Competition n°50 + 3laps

FIA Trophy LMP2 Drivers
1. Nicolas Lapierre / André Negrão / Pierre Thiriet – 143 points
2. Gabriel Aubry / Stéphane Richelmi / Ho-Pin Tung – 139 points
3. Roberto Gonzalez / Pastor Maldonado – 117 points
4. Jazeman Jaafar / Nabil Jeffri / Weiron Tan – 98 points
5. Anthony Davidson – 83 points

FIA Trophy LMP2 Teams
1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 143 points
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 139 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 138 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 117 points
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 70 points
6. Larbre Competition n°50 – 67 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 42 points

Herrero and Parisy begin the season in style

With two hotly contested races that went right down to the wire, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup thrilled the fans at the Coupes de Pâques weekend! Winners of the opening two rounds of the season at Nogaro, Mateo Herrero (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy (CMR) lead the way in the general classification.

Following pre-season testing last month; the field returned on Saturday to Nogaro for free practice. Gaël Castelli (CMR) set the pace with a best time of 1:34.271s in the first session, a new record for the category at Circuit Paul Armagnac.


RACE 1: HERRERO TAKES THE OPENER

In qualifying, Mateo Herrero won the pole by a scant 0.033s from Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) at the conclusion of a session cut short by the incident of Mike Parisy.

Despite a few sprinkles, the field started on slicks. Mateo Herrero maintained the lead while Gaël Castelli got past Nicloas Milan in a field marked by an incident involving Julien Neveu (Autosport GP), Rodolphe Wallgren (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy.

As the laps ticked off, the race intensified and a proper five-driver battle formed for the victory amongst Mateo Herrero, Gaël Castelli, Nicolas Milan, Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition).

Constantly hounding the leader, Gaël Castelli couldn’t find an opening. Behind, things heated up between Laurent Hurgon and Marc Guillot. They relegated Nicolas Milan to fifth before Marc Guillot made an unsuccessful bid to pass Laurent Hurgon for third place.

Three days after celebrating his 17th birthday, Junior driver Mateo Herrero took the win with a 0.6s margin of victory from Gaël Castelli. Laurent Hurgon completed the podium ahead of Marc Guillot and Nicolas Milan.

Yann Zimmer (CMR) won his battle with Antoine Miquel (Milan Compétition) for sixth place while Mike Parisy, Vincent Beltoise (Racing Technology) and Julien Fébreau (Racing Technology) – winner in the Gentlemen category – rounded out the top ten.


RACE 2: PARISY GEST HIS REVENGE

The second qualifying session was even more contested than the first as Mike Parisy won the pole by less than a tenth of a second from Yann Zimmer, Mateo Herrero and Vincent Beltoise. Proof that the competitiveness of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, the first nine were covered by less than a quarter of a second!

At the start, Mike Parisy held his advantage from Yann Zimmer while Vincent Beltoise surprised Mateo Herrero. Two laps later, the field bunched up when Mike Parisy went through the gravel. Yann Zimmer tried a move to take the lead, but Vincent Beltoise, Mateo Herrero and Marc Guillot took advantage of his optimism to gain position.

Vincent Beltoise pressured Mike Parisy, but the race leader firmly protected his position. The return of Mateo Herrero behind his rival allowed him to pull away, but the winner of race one was overtaken by Marc Guillot, Yann Zimmer and Nicolas Milan in the aftermath.

Mike Parisy managed his lead to go on for the win ahead of Vincent Beltoise while Yann Zimmer completed the podium after he got around Marc Guillot on the last lap.

Following the retirements of Nicolas Milan, and Laurent Hurgon on lap 10, Gaël Castelli was promoted fifth place ahead of Mateo Herrero, once again the highest finishing Junior. Julien Neveu was seventh ahead of Antoine Miquel while Jean-Baptiste Mela and Gentleman driver Rodolphe Wallgren completed the top ten.

The Alpine Elf Europa Cup will be back in action next month at the Hockenheimring on May 24-26.


MEANWHILE…
Alpine shined throughout the Easter weekend at Nogaro. In addition to the hotly contested races among the Alpine A110 Cup cars, the Alpine A110 GT4 of Stéphane Lémeret and Pierre-Alexandre Jean scored a double win to take the lead in the general classification of the French FFSA GT Championship.


QUOTES

Mateo Herrero (winner race 1, leader in the general classification)
“The assessment of my first round in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup is really positive. I won my first race on Sunday and I am really proud considering the experience of my adversaries. The second was a little more difficult, but I had the pace. I thought that the differences between the cars would be greater, but I was able to quickly adapt. Now it is time to get ready for the next round at Hockenheim. Looking at my results, I might have a target on my back, but the most important thing is that the performance is there when it counts!”

Mike Parisy (winner race 2) 
“We were rather comfortable in practice, but we went into a downward spiral with a technical issue caused by an off in qualifying, then contact in race one. We wanted to come back strong to pick up our pace and that is exactly what we did in taking the pole. I was able to use all my experience to manage the traffic and build a lead at the opportune moment. Once was clear, I was able to keep the field at bay and win this race, which compensates for our somewhat negative first day. Despite my experience, I am a bit of a novice in this very competitive, exciting and pleasing championship. I am having a great time with the Alpine A110 Cup. We will now continue to work on the car with the CMR team before heading to the international circuits. This is an encouraging start, but there is still a long way to go!”

Julien Fébreau (VIP driver) 
“This was a fantastic weekend. I knew from my first lap that it would be a lot of fun. I was just concerned that I wouldn’t progress as much as I wanted, but I did it and it’s a great satisfaction, as is my victory in the Gentlemen category! I got my first look at the Alpine A110 Cup Saturday morning. It is a very easy car to understand and never violent. As the laps went by, I reduced the gap to the leaders from four seconds to 1.4s. It’s still motor racing, but you can really try to find your limits right from the start, even on a formidable circuit like Nogaro. Whether you are a novice, gentleman or professional, I believe everyone can find their pleasure and challenge. It is both a learning car and a race car when you see the exceptional skill level of the drivers at the sharp end of the order… And I am not even mentioning how popular it is!”

Signatech Alpine Matmut still up front!

  • At Sebring (United States), Signatech Alpine Matmut scores its sixth consecutive podium in the LMP2 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
  • With their runner-up finish, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet reclaim the lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
  • The n°36 Alpine A470 is now five points from the lead of the general classification before returning to Europe for the 6 Hours of Spa (May 2-4) and 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 15-16).

Last week the Signatech Alpine Matmut team arrived in Florida to begin its discovery of the Sebring International Raceway.

Following two days spent learning the Michelin tyres and the challenges posed by the atypical and bumpy legendary track, the n°36 Alpine A470 finished second in the three free-practice sessions prior to Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet qualified third in LMP2 Thursday evening.

The race began in sweltering conditions Friday at 4pm. First in the car, Nicolas Lapierre held position before picking up a place on lap four with a classic overtake move at the inside of turn one.

Pierre Thiriet took over for his double stint. After some time in third place, the Frenchman regained his spot as the skies became more and more threatening. 

After the first quarter of the race, an incident involving an LMP1 car caused a full-course yellow. The team chose to put André Negrão in the car just prior to the intervention of the safety car. Like Pierre Thiriet, the Brazilian drove a double stint before another full-course yellow in the aftermath of his stop. 

While night fell over Sebring, it became clear the race would conclude once the eight-hour mark was reached. In parallel, Pierre Thiriet was back in action before leaving Nicolas Lapierre to go for it. His two stints and the next two of André Negrāo allowed the French squad to consolidate second place as the race entered the final hour.

It began to rain in the final 20 minutes and the team made the perfect call in switching to full wets. Nicolas Lapierre’s efforts were annihilated by the incident involving Loïc Duval and the safety car period just until the chequered flag. 

Second in LMP2 and fifth overall, the Alpine A470 made it six podiums in a row while claiming a second top five in the 2018-2019 Super Season.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“This atypical weekend concludes with a strong result. Sebring is a unique circuit on the calendar with the bumps, the huge grip differences, its extremely hot climate and large temperature variations. Nicolas put in an excellent start before our main rival – the n°38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – hit troubles. This quickly changed the way we raced and we chose to limit our risks. Our strategy called for Pierre to go out relatively early and he did a great job in his double stint in such conditions. This allowed us to stay in the top two and he did a good job in the evening despite a dirtied windscreen caused by another car. In parallel, André and Nicolas gave it their all to keep the leaders in their sight just until the final drama. When it began, to rain, we made the right decision in going to full wets in contrast to our rivals who opted for intermediates. If not for the accident of the TDS and the end of the race behind the safety car, our gamble would have paid off, but this sixth straight podium underscores our consistency and are place among the favourites for the title!”

Nicolas Lapierre

“There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, notably when it comes to strategy, the pit stops, the team’s excellent adaptation to this unique track and the beginning of our partnership with Michelin. On the other hand, we might have lacked just a bit of performance in the cooler temperatures. I think we have identified the problem and we are ready to work on that aspect, but it was a strong weekend with this second place and our return to the top of the overall standings for the drivers.”

 

 

André Negrão 

“Right from the tests last weekend, we found several ways to be better in race conditions. Yet, we were not as good when it was colder, as was the case in qualifying. There was very little in it, but that does not detract from our result. We are still in contention in the Teams’ standings and we have reclaimed the lead in the Drivers’ classification. I am now looking forward to returning to Europe for our tests ahead of Spa and Le Mans.”

 

 

 

 

Pierre Thiriet

“The beginning of the race was tough with the pace of our rivals. During the night, we tried to maintain the gap and we managed to do so before this final portion of the race where the team made the right call with the tyres to seal this excellent second place. It wasn’t easy, especially for Nicolas who had to deal with the rain, but I want to congratulate the team for the fine job it has done during our two weeks in Sebring. The result is positive and promising as we head to the last two rounds of the season!”

 

 

 

1000 Miles of Sebring – LMP2
1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 239 laps
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +27:421s
3. DragonSpeed n°31 + 2 tours
4. Larbre Competition n°50 + 5 laps
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 9 laps
6. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 + 30 laps
NC. TDS Racing n°28  

FIA Trophy LMP2 Drivers
1. Nicolas Lapierre / André Negrão / Pierre Thiriet – 125 points
2. Gabriel Aubry / Stéphane Richelmi / Ho-Pin Tung – 123 points
3. Jazeman Jaafar / Nabil Jeffri / Weiron Tan – 98 points
4. Roberto Gonzalez / Pastor Maldonado – 92 points
5. Erwin Creed / Romano Ricci – 61 points

 

FIA Trophy LMP2 Teams
1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 130 points
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 125 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 123 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 92 points
5. Larbre Competition n°50 – 61 points
6. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 60 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 30 points

The Alpine A110 GT4 wins first-ever GT4 International Cup

With the victory of the n°36 Alpine A110 GT4 entered by the CMR team and driven by Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna at the Bahrain International Circuit, Alpine adds another success to an extremely rich and eloquent history.

Organised by SRO during the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival at Sakhir, the first GT4 International Cup, a genuine World Cup for the category, brought together 21 crews and 10 constructors from around the world to conclude the 2018 season in style.

Right from free practice, the Alpine A110 GT4s prepared by the CMR team with Signatech technical support were on point. The n°36 set best time in the opening session before the n°26 of Antoine Leclerc and David Tuchbant did the same in session two.

After a low-profile qualifying despite Antoine Leclerc’s fifth place in Q2, the Alpine showed once again its potential in the two qualifying races. While the n°26 hit troubles in the field in both races, the sister car made two superb strong runs before the night-time grand finale. Forced to start at the rear of the field for the main race, David Tuchbant soon had to retire while Pierre-Alexandre Jean was starting to put on quite a show.

Third in the FFSA French GT Championship at just 17 years of age, Pierre-Alexandre Jean passed a dozen cars to move up to 7th on lap one. Fifth a lap later, the French driver was up to third place on lap five.

During the driver change window, Pierre-Alexandre Jean extended his stint as long as he could. With a clear track ahead of him, he put in a qualifying-like lap to make the difference before handing over to Pierre Sancinéna.

Once behind the wheel, the first champion of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup left the pits with the lead thanks to the hard work of his team mate. Never worried, the Normandy native was able to manage his pace while also gradually increasing his lead despite the German armada that was chasing from behind.

A few second after the clock reached the one-hour mark, the Alpine A110 GT4 in the blue, white and red Elf colours sealed the win and its triumph in the GT4 world… Barely five months after it competition debut!

Lionel Chevalier, Signatech Technical Director: “We are extremely proud to see an Alpine A110 GT4 win the first-ever GT4 International Cup. This victory is the reward for the work the Signatech Automobiles team put in for nearly 18 months and for the past several months with the CMR team. I want to congratulate them all, but also Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna, two drivers who have starred in the Alpine A110 GT4 and Alpine A110 Cup. Following our successes in the both the French and European championships, this first world crown confirms the potential of our car. This is an incredible source of motivation for the future, even more so with such a high level of competition this weekend! We can’t wait to be in 2019 season to defend this title and set off on the conquest of different national and international championships.”