Since Friday 9 June and the reveal of the A424_β showcar, Alpine has accelerated its preparations around its future LMDh built for the premier Hypercar category of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC).
The result of an unprecedented collaboration between Alpine’s Design and Racing departments, the A424 is in keeping with the vision revealed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The quintessence of Alpine’s sportiness, it will challenge the biggest names in motorsport from next year with its unique styling underlined by distinctive and already iconic lighting cues. With its undeniable purity and dynamism, this prototype will also be the first Alpine to enter the hybrid era in Endurance.
SUCCESSFUL FIRST FIRE-UP
This summer, Alpine is working behind the scenes to meet the challenge of the premier category. Studied and put through the dynos for several months, the Alpine A424’s engine is nearing its final configuration thanks to the collaboration with Mecachrome. The single-turbocharged 3.4-litre V6, which develops the regulated 500 kW (675 bhp) and is coupled to an Xtrac gearbox, recently arrived at Oreca’s workshops to be integrated into the first A424 chassis.
After it arrived in Signes, the main focus was finalising the assembly, validating the electrical, electronic and hybrid systems and the A424’s operating procedures. The vehicle then made its first fire-up on Wednesday 5 July at 12:15 pm. As the engine came to life for the first time in its chassis, it revealed its melody, thus rewarding the efforts made by all the teams and launching the development phase in earnest.
Meanwhile, the team carried out its first simulator sessions, working to validate the coherence of the simulated model of the A424, its onboard software and tyres before conducting a realistic analysis of its preliminary settings before the first runs. An initial simulation of its racing processes, in terms of configuration, data, telemetry and communications, was also conducted during the two days.
The rest of the summer will be devoted to the initial phases of the A424’s development, starting with two shakedown sessions. The first will take place in early August to once again test the concept and ensure all the systems work accordingly. Later in the month, a second shakedown will be done, with the bodywork in its initial configuration.
Following these initial runs, the first test session will be conducted, before a series of sessions during the back half of the year on several reference tracks, including Circuit Paul Ricard, Motorland Aragón, Jerez and Portimão.
To give itself the best chance at the highest level, Alpine has teamed up with experts in their respective areas: Oreca for the chassis, Mecachrome for the engine and Philippe Sinault’s Signatech team for on-track operations alongside Alpine’s Racing engineers.
Driven by a genuine spirit of competition to bring this ambitious programme to success, they will all work to achieve the objectives set for each stage of the A424’s development, making it more reliable and optimising its performance as the weeks go by. Every run will be focused on these crucial issues and fine-tuning the A424 before it takes on the ultra-competitive environment of the new golden age of endurance racing.
Meanwhile, the first steps towards homologation will be made in collaboration with the FIA and IMSA. These will be all the more important as they will freeze the technical definitions of the car, barring exceptions defined by tremendously strict conditions in the regulations. Begun with the announcement of its entry into the premier category on 5 October 2021, the race against the clock for the A-arrow brand continues to gather pace with 215 days to go until the first start of the A424 at the 1,812-kilometre race in Qatar on 2 March 2024!