Renault isn't letting up with the return of its Alpine brand. After announcing a partnership with Caterham to bring a new Alpine to market by 2015 (now expected by 2016), the French firm has announced it is taking Alpine racing again in the European Le Mans Series this year – and that includes The 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It has been 35 years since Alpine last competed in Le Mans, when it won the race outright and dropped the mic as it left the pits, never to return. Before that, in the 11 years it campaigned in the most famous endurance race on the planet from 1963 to 1978, it took seven class wins.

Caterham won't be involved with the race team, however; that will be an effort spearheaded by the Signatech-Nissan team that has been running GT Academy winners in LMS racing. Alpine is preparing an LMP2 chassis that will get a 500-horsepower Nissan engine for this year's championship, with the first two named drivers being Nelson Panciatici (above right) and Pierre Ragues (above left). The third driver for Le Mans will be announced later this month when the racer is launched at the Le Castellet race track in southern France.

The press release below has more details, and prepare yourself now for a chant that hasn't been heard since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was president of the republic: "Allez Alpine!"
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Alpine to compete at Le Mans and in endurance racing for the first time in 35 years*

- In November 2012, Renault announced its intention to revive the Alpine brand with the creation of Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham.

- Ahead of the launch of the brand's first new car, which is expected to reach the market in 2016, Renault has planned a number of operations in order to keep the Alpine name in the spotlight, including an entry of five A110 berlinettes for last January's Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique.

- The announcement of Alpine's return to endurance racing in 2013 marks another step in this process. The brand will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours and the 2013 European Le Mans Series.


March 08, 2013 -- On November 5, 2012, Renault's senior management announced its intention to revive the Alpine brand within the framework of a partnership with Caterham. Today, under the leadership of CEO Bernard Ollivier, the recently-created Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham is already working on a new car which is expected to reach the market in 2016.

In the meantime, the brand is gradually building up to its return to consolidate its image thanks to carefully-tailored programmes in all its traditional areas of activity.

After presentations at the 2012 Monaco F1 Grand Prix and at the Le Mans Classic week of the Alpine A110-50, which was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the celebrated 'Berlinette', five Alpine A110s were officially entered for the recent Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. They were given a warm welcome by the public and afterwards joined other models of the make founded by Jean Rédélé at the Rétromobile Show in Paris, France, at the beginning of February.

Today, another important step has been taken with the announcement that an Alpine prototype is to race in the competitive 2013 European Le Mans Series endurance racing championship (ELMS), as well as at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours (June 22-23).

The decision to compete at Le Mans fits perfectly with the brand's heritage, since Alpine contested the famous 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 LM P2 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 Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.

The highlight of the season will naturally be the Le Mans 24 Hours. 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 March 24.

Said Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer, Renault: "Alpine's return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 marks the beginning of a new adventure which is set to last. The passion that drives us is matched only by the humility and careful attention paid to costs that epitomise this comeback which itself has been made possible thanks to the involvement of our partners and supporters who I would like to thank formally here. Together, step by step, we will do our very best to write another exciting page in the history of Alpine, a truly outstanding name in the world of French sports cars."

* This programme was made possible by the involvement of the brand's long-time partners Michelin and Total who have contributed their technical and financial support to the adventure.


EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES 2013
NELSON PANCIATICI "OFFICIAL ALPINE DRIVER"


Alpine is probably the only French automotive brand to have been crowned in all three of the rally, single-seater, and prototype motor sports. After many international achievements in endurance, with the unforgettable overall win in the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours, Alpine is back in Le Mans this year for the most difficult endurance race in the world.

After battling brilliantly in the LMP2 category of the 2012 World Endurance Championship (WEC), and a fine fourth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he was awarded the Jean Rondeau prize for best rookie, Nelson Panciatici is now officially an Alpine driver. He will race in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) as part of the Signatech-Alpine Team run by Philippe Sinault. His partner is Pierre Ragues, another Frenchman, he has known since his Formula Renault 2.0 days and they raced together in the WEC last year. The two men, who get on very well, are a formidable team with a goal to win!

For this great comeback of the Alpine brand to the top level of motor sports, Nelson Panciatici would never, for anything in the world, have wanted to miss this extraordinary opportunity to drive an Alpine-Nissan kitted out with Michelin tyres.

He tells us: "I was hoping for more endurance racing because I really enjoyed my first season in the sport. I was also in a top team of skilled and passionate people. I did have some offers I was looking into very seriously but when Philippe Sinault mentioned the Alpine project to me, I jumped at the chance! Driving for a constructor as famous as Alpine is an incredible opportunity for a young driver and I didn't hesitate for a second! I'm really pleased to be part of the Signatech-Alpine team and with Pierre as my co-driver, we're aiming for victory in the LMP2 category from the start. Expectations will be high from everyone but I feel I can take on this responsibility because I know the whole team is there to help us and we'll have a good car. I hope we have as good a season as we did last year, with a win to crown it!"

Amazing drivers like Patrick Depailler, Jean Pierre Jabouille, Henri Pescarolo, Didier Pironi, Jean Claude Andruet, Jean Luc Thérier, Jean Pierre Jaussaud too, and many others, have all shone behind the wheel of an Alpine. A new adventure starts today and new generations are already "tweeting" with frenzy: "Alpine is back at Le Mans." Nelson Panciatici and the whole Signatech-Alpine team are ready to take on the challenge and add another chapter to the history of Alpine!
tnership with Caterham. Today, under the leadership of CEO Bernard Ollivier, the recently-created Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham is already working on a new car which is expected to reach the market in 2016.

In the meantime, the brand is gradually building up to its return to consolidate its image thanks to carefully-tailored programmes in all its traditional areas of activity.

After presentations at the 2012 Monaco F1 Grand Prix and at the Le Mans Classic week of the Alpine A110-50, which was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the celebrated 'Berlinette', five Alpine A110s were officially entered for the recent Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. They were given a warm welcome by the public and afterwards joined other models of the make founded by Jean Rédélé at the Rétromobile Show in Paris, France, at the beginning of February.

Today, another important step has been taken with the announcement that an Alpine prototype is to race in the competitive 2013 European Le Mans Series endurance racing championship (ELMS), as well as at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours (June 22-23).

The decision to compete at Le Mans fits perfectly with the brand's heritage, since Alpine contested the famous 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 LM P2 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 Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.

The highlight of the season will naturally be the Le Mans 24 Hours. 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 March 24.

Said Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer, Renault: "Alpine's return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 marks the beginning of a new adventure which is set to last. The passion that drives us is matched only by the humility and careful attention paid to costs that epitomise this comeback which itself has been made possible thanks to the involvement of our partners and supporters who I would like to thank formally here. Together, step by step, we will do our very best to write another exciting page in the history of Alpine, a truly outstanding name in the world of French sports cars."

* This programme was made possible by the involvement of the brand's long-time partners Michelin and Total who have contributed their technical and financial support to the adventure.