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Dunlop Le Mans

Alpine Returns To Endurance Racing With Signatech

As expected the "major announcement" at Le Mans today was the announcement that Alpine will return to endurance racing 35 years after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with its famous Alpine-Renault A442B.

ACO President Pierre Fillon, Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares, Alpine-Caterham President Bernard Olivier and Signatech's Philippe Sinault attended the relaunch event of one of the most legendary names in French racing history.

With the ACO moving towards sustainability the return of Alpine is an historic one. Alpine raced at Le Mans 11 times between 1963 and 1978, the year it took the overall victory. With its M64 and A210 it won the 'Energy Index' and 'Performance Index' categories five times.

Carlos Tavares: "Alpine’s comeback in 2013 to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours is the start of a new, long-term adventure. The deep passion that is driving us is equalled only by the cost-effective aspect of our return, which is based on the involvement of our partners and supporters whom I would like to thank. Step by step we’ll try to write a new page together in the history of the great French sports car make – Alpine!"

Pierre Fillon added: "The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is delighted about Alpine’s comeback to the Le Mans 24 Hours. In the past, the manufacturer racked up a marvellous set of results in the major branches of motor sport, but it’s to Le Mans and not anywhere else that Alpine is giving priority for its return to racing. We’re particularly flattered by this decision that follows in the historical direction of motor sport. Not just because we’re celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, and having a major French make at the start pleases us enormously, but above all because it proves that both our technical and sporting regulations allied to the immense popularity of our event, which give pride of place to close contact with the spectators, is in perfect harmony with today’s world and motor racing as we see it. That’s the reason why our race has enjoyed such amazing success with the major car manufacturers."

It had been rumoured that Signatech would run their own cars with Nissan engines being re-badged to Alpine. Today's announcement makes it perfectly clear that the chassis will be named Alpina, with the engines being supplied by Nissan.

To prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Signatech will enter the Alpine in the European Le Mans Series this season, with drivers Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici confirmed for the 2013 racing season. The third driver will be announced at the official presentation of the Alpine LMP2 at Paul Ricard on March 24.