Alpine A470 #36 – Spark

A470 #36
2017 Alpine A470 #36
Pilots: N. Lapierre, P. Thiriet, A. Negrão
Team: Signatech Alpine Matmut
Race: 5th overall (first in LMP2 class) at Le Mans in 2018
Spark - S7919 (resin)

Published 04/06/22

For the 2017 LMP2 season, FIA changed technical specifications for the cars. FIA homologated four chassis and a single engine for all participants. With that, teams could choose between Ligier, ORECA, Riley or Dallara as their chassis supplier. And to power the cars, the only available option was from Gibson. The engine from Gibson was the GK428, a 4200 cm³ 90º V8 with 32 valves and DOHC. With fuel injection and a dry sump lubrication system, it delivered around 600 hp and 555 Nm of torque. The idea behind a standardized lineup was to keep costs down, therefore attracting more teams to the field. That being the case, at La Sarthe in 2017 for instance, there were 25 LMP2 cars in 13 teams. Furthermore, with a level playing field, success depended heavily on team and pilot effort. Adding everything up, racing was more colorful than what happened in LMP1.

A470 #36
The A470 is in reality an ORECA 07, though tuned and setup by Alpine.

Alpine began racing at Le Mans in the LMP2 class in 2013. Though they called their car A450, it was in reality an ORECA 03, powered by a Nissan 4.5-liters V8. ORECA delivered the car “stock” and Alpine then adjusted everything, from the engine to aerodynamics. In 2013 they fielded one single car, the A450 #36, coming in 15th overall and ninth in class. The following year they developed the car into the A450B (ORECA 3R), and came in third place in LMP2. In 2016, now using the A460 (ORECA 5), they came in first place in class. With new rules for 2017, and ORECA releasing the ORECA 07, Alpine enhanced their game with the A470. However, Jackie Chan’s #38 came in first in LMP2, the A470 only managed third and eighth places.

A470 #36 vs A470 #36: REALLY hard to say which one is the 2017 car (left) and which one is the 2018 car (right).

In 2018, Alpine was back at La Sarthe, however with just one A470, the 2017 chassis #12. Though with only one car in the fray, A470 #36 came in fifth place overall and first in LMP2. This A470 #36 is my second A470 – the other one also a 2017 chassis and also #36. Yet, this one is a class winner. When Spark released it in 2019 it was gone pretty quickly, and I missed it. Subsequently, I never saw one for sale until I found this one. In scale, it is a “regular Spark” (= awesome 143rd model) and being a class winner, a great buy. Nonetheless, compared to my other A470 #36, the differences are VERY minute. With that, I probably wouldn’t have bought the 2017 car if I already had this one.

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