2016 Renault Alpine - sports car due to appear briefly at Le Mans

Source:: Autocar




French firm confirms it plans to launch its new sports car in 2016, with the Alpine brand due to be celebrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Renault will re-launch the Alpine brand with a new sports car in 2016, which is tipped to cost around £50,000.

The long-awaited sports car is set to be unveiled at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race next month. It is understood that a concept version of the car — which is likely to be very close to the final product — will be revealed at the event. It is expected to pay direct homage to the most famous Alpine model, the A110.

Speaking to Autocar at the Clerkenwell Design Week in London, Renault’s exterior design chief, Anthony Lo, alluded to the plans. “You will hear about that [the Alpine] from us,” he said.

From its Le Mans debut, the concept is likely to make its next appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where a special display celebrating 60 years of Alpine is already planned.

Models which will feature as part of the display include the 1955 A106, the A110,  the 1978 Le Mans-winning A442b and the A450b, Alpine’s current World Endurance Championship car.

Having been spotted testing at the Nürburgring since summer 2013, it’s understood that development on the 2016 sports car is entering the final stages. The rear-drive, two-seat coupé will be used to revitalise the Alpine brand and bring it back into mainstream recognition. Early test mules hid under Lotus bodywork, while the car is believed to sit on an all-new platform.

The team testing the mule at the Nürburgring was high-performance suspensions specialist Ohlins, known for its work on Renaultsport models.

Renault officials have previously said the new car must become a halo model for Alpine, fulfilling a similar role to that of the Porsche 911. Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker said: “The challenge with Alpine is to somehow fill this gap of more than 20 years and do a product that is believable.

“I feel the car really needs to create the foundation of Alpine. We need to create the 911 of Alpine. If we do that properly then we can consider [making] cars like the Panamera.”

The seeds of the project, which began with a joint development programme with Caterham, were sown in 2012. However, after a series of disputes the two companies went their separate ways in 2014.

A concept version of the Alpine appeared at the Goodwood Festival of speed in 2012. Power for the Alpine 110-50 concept came from a 3.5-litre V6, which produced 395bhp at 7200rpm and 311lb ft at 6200rpm. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical limited-slip differential.

Originally designed to celebrate 50 years of the Alpine A110 Berlinette, references to the original include the 1962 car’s central foglights alluded to with a pair or half-domed LED rings on the new concept, a 3D rear window that reveals the mid-mounted engine, and a new take on the classic Alpine Blue paint to cover the carbonfibre bodywork.

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