Billed as a show car, the Alpine Celebration previews the marque's return to the sports car market in the near future. It's a two-seat, mid-engined coupe that draws its stylistic and spiritual inspiration from road-going and competition models from the marque's illustrious past – particularly the legendary Alpine A110. Think of it as a slightly retro and very French take on the form embodied by the likes of the Porsche Cayman, Lotus Elise, and Alfa Romeo 4C.
Unfortunately, while the press kit below speaks plenty of Alpine's past, the concept's design, and the significance of the racing venue where it's been unveiled, it gives us very little to go on in the way of technical details. It must have some kind of running gear underneath its orange-accented blue bodywork, since it's running a demonstration lap at the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend, but the French automaker isn't telling us just what that engine might be. We'd be surprised if it had more than four or six cylinders, though, potentially boosted by a turbocharger or two and driving the rear wheels.
Remember that this isn't the first new Alpine design we've seen since Renault committed to reviving the marque. There was the rather striking A110-50 concept unveiled three years ago, the heart-pumping Vision Gran Turismo design from earlier this year, and the LMP2 prototype that's competing once again at Le Mans this weekend. This latest concept, however, adopts a friendlier, ostensibly more production-ready form – and one we're looking forward to seeing make its way at long last into production, even if it isn't likely to ever reach US showrooms.
Alpine is to commemorate 60 years of sporting passion with the unveiling of the new Alpine Celebration show car that has been specially prepared for Le Mans.
Alpine is celebrating six decades of 'foot-to-the-floor' heritage: the brand is set to steal the spotlight by unveiling a new show car, the Alpine Celebration. Conceived especially for Le Mans, it will take to the track at La Sarthe at 1:35pm local time on Saturday, June 13, as part of the build-up to the start of the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours. It will then go on public display in the circuit's 'Village' area.
In addition to featuring the iconic colours of legendary models from the brand's illustrious past, this show car is the very embodiment of Alpine's sporting DNA.
This weekend will be a particularly busy one for Alpine: after the new show car laps the circuit in front of some 250,000 spectators and television cameras broadcasting all around the world, the brand will return to the track with the A450b prototype which is contesting the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours in the LMP2 class, crewed by Signatech-Alpine's all-French driver line-up.
"As we mark Alpine's 60th anniversary, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has generously granted us an exclusive opportunity to unveil the Alpine Celebration show car. It will complete a lap of this legendary circuit.
That's an immense honour for us and a genuinely emotional occasion.
I have no doubt that this will be just as keenly appreciated by Alpine fans and the spectating public in general, some of whom might be discovering the brand for the first time.
They will be left with a strong impression of the style and agility of the Alpine Celebration. I am sure they will associate this image with the values that we hold dear and the sporting flame that continues to drive and inspire us."
Bernard Ollivier, CEO, Société des Automobiles Alpine
Iconic blue to mark 60 years of passion
A unique and stylish new show car, the Alpine Celebration, has been released as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the brand that was founded by Jean Rédélé. This surprise, emotional launch comes on the eve of the 83rd edition of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
The Le Mans 24 Hours regularly attracts more than 250,000 motoring and motor racing fans – sportscar aficionados drawn from every corner of the globe – and is arguably the highest-profile event on the international motorsport calendar. It is a technological, human and sporting challenge that has been organised by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) since 1923.
The race is broadcast on television to more than 800 million viewers across some 190 countries, with three million visitors to the official website and many more still on social media. That is why Alpine's surprise unveiling needed to be worthy of the prestige of this event.
A compact sportscar inspired by Alpine's motor-sport heritage, the Alpine Celebration takes the form of a two-seater coupé whose sleek, flowing lines are underlined by its deep blue colour scheme. This same blue – enhanced by hints of orange – also adorns the Alpine prototypes that made a triumphant return to endurance racing in 2013. It is a livery that harkens back to the Alpine models which played such a pivotal role in the brand's original Le Mans adventure when, from 1963 to 1969, the M63, M64, M65, A210, A220 and even the A110 so valiantly upheld French honour in La Sarthe.
The Alpine Celebration faithfully replicates the timeless style of Alpine of old whilst adding a modern twist. Its low profile, sloping, creased bonnet, sculpted sides, distinctive rear window and other design details are all clear echoes of models like the A110 that have featured so prominently in Alpine's glorious history.
With no need for gimmickry to stand out from the crowd, the beauty of the Alpine Celebration resides in its simplicity. Mindful of remaining elegant whilst at the same time responding to the need for frugality and efficiency, the Alpine Celebration show car reveals much about the brand's heritage. If it retains a familiar style and set of values, it integrates them in a thoroughly modern manner. Carbon detailing is used to highlight the high-tech features of the car's body, from its spoiler to the side sills, diffuser, rear air intakes and mirrors.
The positioning of the masked double head-lamps and the central round lights barred by a black cross will remind fans of the adhesive strips that used to be found on the headlights of Alpine's rally cars. It was formerly an ingenious means of holding the lenses together should they be broken.
The seemingly floating spoiler which frames the vehicle's bold front end expresses strength, whilst the visual impression of poise and efficiency is enhanced by the straight, sharp lines of the side sills. The mirrors, meanwhile, incorporate a thin mirror that seems to be suspended free of its housing to heighten the dynamic, lightweight and aerodynamically efficient feel.
The famous Alpine arrowed 'A' is visible on the air intake grille, sides, front wings and roof.
The design of the wheels recalls a style that was popular on the A110 and A310 models during the 1970s. They reveal the prominent brake discs and orange brake callipers. In the middle is a one-piece cast aluminium hub – another element that contributes to the overall styling.
The athletic stern integrates air intakes built into the rear quarter panels to contribute to engine cooling. The engine cover – which can be spied through the louvered motifs of the rear window – reveals the mid-rear positioning of the power plant. Above the wheel arches, scoops guide airflow in a manner that is unmistakeably Alpine. The rear of the vehicle is characterised by an impressive diffuser that incorporates a central rear light, flanked by two brushed stainless steel exhaust tailpipes.
The approach throughout is very clearly to highlight rather than conceal the car's structural elements.
The result suggests light weight, agility and rewarding performance.
That said, the true significance of the Alpine Celebration show car is to be found in its design – all flowing, sensual curves – which single-handedly symbolises the very essence of driving pleasure à la française.
The Alpine Celebration offers some answers to a question that has long fascinated aficionados of beautiful sportscars: "Does the secret to the aesthetic appeal of an exciting, efficient and easy-to-drive sportscar not lie in the precision of its design and its technological simplicity?"
"We envisaged the Alpine Celebration show car as the crowning glory of six decades of Alpine style and motor racing. We paid meticulous attention to every detail. This time, however, we wanted to go even further by reaching out to the hearts of a much broader audience. In order to faithfully reproduce the style and driving experience traditionally associated with Alpine, we were always mindful of wanting to develop and evolve our new car in real-world conditions, but in a manner that is synonymous with French motorsport. It would be difficult to imagine a better showcase than the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours circuit to give the Alpine Celebration its first public airing."
Antony Villain, Alpine Design Director
AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE PAST, A CELEBRATION OF THE PRESENT...
The Alpine Celebration will follow in the wheel tracks of an A110 as it completes its lap of honour of the Le Mans circuit, almost making it appear as if the Berlinette – so emblematic of the Alpine brand and French motorsport in general – had returned in a contemporary guise. The direct lineage between the two cars is clear to see, seamlessly linking the past to the future. What's more, the determination to once again take on big-name rivals is palpably intact.
The A110 predominantly owes its fame to its dual personality as both a desirable road-going sportscar and at the same time a motorsport icon. It boasts a sparkling record, claiming a long list of victories over the course of a long and glittering career that was capped by the Manufacturers' crown in the 1973 World Rally Championship. Yet the Berlinette was in fact quite the all-rounder, even producing commendable performances on the racetrack – an area that was not its natural habitat. This was evidenced by the A110 GT's eye-catching efforts in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Indeed, it never shied away from taking the fight to more fancied rivals on any type of terrain. This giant-killing approach has characterised every phase of Alpine's history in motorsport.
The same spirit, enthusiasm and constant thirst for new challenges and adventures continue to inspire the teams that are now so passionately involved in the brand's return.
Sixty years ago, the Alpine brand was born. The talent of its founder Jean Rédélé, the passion of the teams working beneath him and the performance of his cars in motorsport saw Alpine swiftly achieve success in every sporting arena.
Exemplifying an all-conquering era in French motorsport, Alpine regularly stole the spotlight at Le Mans, from its competitive debut in the twice round-the-clock classic in 1963 right up to its famous outright victory in the race in 1978. As it continues the impressive comeback that began in 2013, Alpine is today writing a fresh page in its remarkable history with its unique Alpine Celebration show car.
The Alpine Celebration is the latest in a series of vehicles designed to showcase the Alpine legend. Since 2012, Alpine has enjoyed an inspiring period of enthusiastic creativity and renewed momentum. Revived by the 50th anniversary of the Berlinette and brought to life in the shape of the stunning A110-50, Alpine's rebirth was immediately marked by a victorious return to motorsport in 2013 – a trend that continued in 2014, as the A450b achieved back-to-back European Le Mans Series endurance racing titles.
The current year represents a new phase of this productive process, with the 60th anniversary celebrations for Jean Rédélé's company and the spectacular creative activities planned to accompany them. At the beginning of the year, the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo revved into existence as a new addition to the world's most popular motorsport video game.
At the same time, it was brought to life as a futuristic full-scale model – to the evident delight of visitors to the International Automobile Festival and Rétromobile show in Paris.
Alpine is a member of an exclusive club of marques whose success is founded on motorsport. It is this heritage that drives Alpine's acute appreciation of style and an on-going desire to take on human and technological challenges, perpetuating the legend of the brand by attracting new fans all around the world.
As it pursues its quest for the ultimate in performance, agility, style and driving enjoyment that first inspired it 60 years ago, Alpine continues to inspire the dreams of sportscar aficionados. The Alpine Celebration goes one step further still in bringing those dreams to life on the racetrack – for one very special lap.
In 2014, Bernard Ollivier (CEO, Société des Automobiles Alpine) made no secret of his desire to make an emphatic statement and celebrate the Alpine brand's 60th anniversary in style. He consequently tasked his designers with producing a modern car using the DNA of the legendary Alpine. Led by Antony Villain, the team swiftly sprang into action, assisted in its work by several members of the engineering department. Around 15 people worked together to design and develop a car worthy of such a landmark occasion and the impression that it should leave in the memory. It was thus that the Alpine Celebration was born, following in the wake of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo which was developed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the famous video game. This car was initially a purely virtual affair, before materialising at the beginning of 2015 in full-scale 3D form. The desire to 'see it for real' proved to be too great for it to remain at the digital prototype stage.
In the case of the Alpine Celebration, the eagerness to conceive a stylish celebratory car in the true Alpine tradition served as the starting point of the project. This ambition has always been tempered by the requirement to produce a realistic interpretation right down to the tiniest details.
Throughout 2015, the Alpine Celebration will attend a number of special events dedicated to Alpine's 60th anniversary. Notably, it will put in an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 25-28), not to mention the popular 'Alpine Saga' reunion in Dieppe organised by the Association des Anciens d'Alpine on September 11-13.