Alpine to enter Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 after 35 years of absence image

Following Renault’s decision to revive the Alpine brand within a partnership with Caterham late last year, the new company has already announced it plans to race in the 2013 European Le Mans Series, including the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The recently created Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham has announced that the car it will use in endurance racing this year is an Alpine prototype. The Alpine brand contested the famous Le Mans 24-hour race 11 times between 1963 and 1978, running a total of 55 factory cars.

In addition to its successes in the ‘Energy Index’ classification in 1964, 1965 and 1968, as well as in the ‘Performance Index’ classification in 1968 and 1969, its efforts harvested seven class wins in total and, above all, outright victory in 1978 with the Alpine A442B prototype shared by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. The two Frenchmen were joined in the top four by the A442 of Jean Ragnotti and Guy Fréquelin.

For its return to Le Mans, Alpine has joined forces with Signatech. The Philippe Sinault-run team will enter an Alpine LMP2 prototype with an Alpine chassis powered by a 500hp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELMS, including the opening race at Silverstone, England (April 13). The drivers will be Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici. The name of the third driver who will join the team for the world’s most famous endurance race will be announced when the car is officially presented at Le Castellet, France, on 24 March.