2017 Alpine A470 Pilots: G. Menezes, R. Dumas, M. Rao Team: Signatech Alpine Matmut Race: 10th overall (LMP2 class) at Le Mans in 2017 Spark - S5822 (resin)
The Société des Automobiles Alpine SAS, opened shop in 1955. They started out improving Renault cars for races, and soon after producing their own cars, always with Renault support. Alpine became Renault’s racing division, and by 1976 Renault bought the brand. To this day, Alpine is responsible for the development of Renault’s sports cars. But in 2013 Alpine wanted to get back to endurance racing, so they established a partnership with ORECA. ORECA supplied them their Oreca 03, a LMP2 design that Alpine refined and rechristened as the Alpine A450. The car debuted at La Sarthe in 2013, and came in 3rd in the LMP2 class. For 2016 ORECA evolved their LMP2 car in to the ORECA 05, now with a closed cockpit design. So the “new Alpine” became the A460.
For 2017 ORECA developed the new ORECA 07, and Alpine subsequently called their new car Alpine A470. As per ACO’s LMP2 rules, the engine of the A470 is the GK428, from Gibson. It’s a 90º V8 displacing 4200 cm³ with 32 valves and DOHC. Naturally aspirated, it delivers 603 hp of power to the rear wheels through a six speed sequential XTrac gearbox. The chassis is a carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque, and ready to roll, the car weighs only 930 kg.
Signatech Alpine became Alpine’s works team from the start of their LMP2 program. For the 24 Heures du Mans of 2017 the team had two cars in the race. Car #35 managed 5th place, while #36 here finished in 11th. However, Rebellion’s #13, that finished in third place overall was disqualified post-race. Consequently, #35 became fourth (third in LMP2) and #36 tenth (eighth in LMP2).
I confess that I think of Alpine as a “clone team”. After all, their cars are rebranded ORECAs. BUT, I do have a soft spot for their French-blue livery, that I find gorgeous. And to make things more interesting, they won the LMP2 class at Le Mans in 2018 and this year again. So Alpine Signatech walks the walk and talks the talk. With that, when this A470 showed up locally for a good price, it was an easy decision. Another “regular Spark”, with all the goodness that comes with that. No winner, so maybe not for everybody, but a gorgeous model nonetheless.