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“Vying for the title just until the final race of last season, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team fully participated in the renewal of the LMP2 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The level of performance and the demands had never been as great and we expect the 2018 season to be just as competitive. To aim for the highest step of the podium, we can count on our knowledge of the Alpine A470, driven by a trio of experienced and fast drivers and supported by a technical team whose motivation knows no limits. It is blue blood that runs through our veins!”

Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal

2018 PROGRAMME
In 2018, Alpine will begin the sixth season of its contemporary programme in Endurance. Entered under the banner of the Signatech Alpine Matmut team, the Alpine A470 will race with the number 36 on the entry list of the FIA WEC World Championship in the LMP2 category.

Seven teams are entered in this category for the entire season. The opposition will once again be fierce at the 24-Hours of Le Mans as 20 cars are expected to participate.

World Champions in 2016 and third in 2017, the factory Alpine team obviously figures among the candidates for the win.

The 2018 team is composed of:
– Nicolas Lapierre. He ticks all the requisite boxes for an Endurance driver; fast, easy on the tyres and fuel, skilful with set-up and a strong sense of team spirit.
– André Negrão. One of the revelations of the 2017 season, while he was an Endurance newcomer. In addition to his will to win, he also brings his Brazilian love of life to the team.
– Pierre Thiriet. A solid driver, fast and reliable, who has seven years of Endurance experience and who is living the dream of many French racers: to represent the Alpine colours.

This crew has been formed in compliance with the regulations, which require at least one «Silver» category driver in each LMP2 car.

ALPINE A470
In 2017, the LMP2 category has undergone a major transformation, with the application of new technical regulations and a generation of cars with substantially improved performance.

Homologated by the FIA, the chassis of the Alpine A470 is powered by a 600bhp V8 engine, which has been provided by Gibson Technology and is identical for all competitors in the category.

The monocoque design and some mechanical components – such as the gearbox – are derived from the Alpine A460, the 2016 World Champion car. Oreca’s work focused in particular on integrating the new powertrain and on aerodynamics. Obtained following extensive work using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), the contours of the A470 reveal a level of refinement never previously attained on cars in the LMP2 category.

The performance gain was spectacular, to the order of four seconds per lap on the Shanghai circuit and ten seconds on the 24-Hours of Le Mans circuit, with a top speed increasing from 310 to 336kph.

Like the previous seasons, the Alpine A470 will be shod on Dunlop tyres.

SIGNATECH ALPINE MATMUT
Founded in 1990 when it was known as Signature, the Signature Group has been supplying Alpine with technical, sporting and logistics support for its Endurance racing programme since 2013. This partnership was recently expanded to the conception and marketing of the Alpine A110 Cups and GT4, as well as the organisation of the Alpine Europa Cup.

The history of the Signature Group was initially tied to Formula 3, in which it won several national and international titles and through which it made key contributions to the careers of some notable drivers, including Benoit Tréluyer, Loïc Duval, Nicolas Lapierre, Romain Grosjean and Edoardo Mortara. A substantial shift was made in 2009, when the team first competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Based in Bourges, in the heart of France, the Signature Group employs around forty people in four departments: Racing, Engineering, Events Management and Classics.

Two workshops, covering a total surface area of 2,500m2, are dedicated to designing, building and running racing cars. The facilities include a design office equipped with 3D Solidworks CAD solution, a bodywork/composite fibre department and a mechanical parts production workshop. An Ellip6 simulator is used for driver training and to devise technical simulation programmes.

Signatech’s competitive record includes 19 titles, 84 race wins, 54 pole positions, 498 podium finishes and 53 lap records, acquired in single-seater racing and Endurance.

SIGNATECH ALPINE MATMUT NO.36

NICOLAS LAPIERRE
Born on 2 April 1984 in Thonon-les-Bains (France)
FIA driver category: Platinum
Nicolas began his career in single-seater racing, winning the 2003 Macao F3 GP with the Signature team as part of the F3 Euroseries. He switched to Endurance in 2008 and enjoyed his first victories with Team Oreca Matmut. In 2012, he finished third in the FIA WEC with Toyota. During the three seasons he spent with the Japanese manufacturer, he won six outright World Championship races. After coming first in the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015, he joined Signatech-Alpine for the 2016 campaign. At the end of a dream-like season, during which he secured four race wins – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – he claimed the LMP2 Drivers’ and Teams’ titles. In 2017, his season was split between LMP1 with Toyota and LMP2 with Signatech Alpine Matmut. He was one of the principal architects of the comeback of the Blues in the second half of the season.

ANDRÉ NEGRÃO
Born on 17 June 1992 in Sao Paulo (Brazil)
FIA driver category: Gold
Like his more famous predecessors, André Negrão crossed the Atlantic to acquire experience racing in Europe. He has taken part in more than 150 races in Formula Renault 2.0, FR3.5 and GP2 since making his debut in 2008. He never lost interest in the American continent, however, since he was runner up in the Brazilian F3 championship in 2010 and 2012 and seventh in the Indy Lights in 2016. In 2017, he turned towards Endurance in joining Signatech Alpine Matmut. Teamed with Panciatici and Ragues, he finished fourth overall in his first 24-Hours of Le Mans. He continued his season with Lapierre and Menezes. Together, the trio took five consecutive podium results, including a win and stayed in contention for the title just until the final race.

PIERRE THIRIET
Born on 20 April 1989 in Épinal (France)
FIA driver category: Silver
Following his debut in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy, Pierre Thiriet headed towards Endurance in his third season in motor racing. With the TDS team, he quickly became one of the most prominent drivers in the ELMS, with a title in 2012 and three runner-up places in 2013, 2015 and 2016. After six seasons in Europe, he joined the ranks of the FIA WEC in 2017. With the G-Drive team, he took his first LMP2 victory at Spa-Francorchamps. Pierre has raced in the 24-Hours of Le Mans seven times, twice finishing second in LMP2.

KEY POINTS OF THE FIA WEC
– The FIA WEC competitors are split into four categories: the prototypes in LMP1 and LMP2 – the latter being the category in which the Alpine A470s compete – and the GTs in LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am.
– The LMP2s (Le Mans Prototype 2) are racing cars with no minimum production required. Despite their similar looks to the LMP1s, the LMP2s don’t feature hybrid or electric propulsion system. Competitors must use one of the four chassis homologated by the FIA.
– The engines used in LMP2 are identical for all the competitors. They all use a Gibson GK428 V8 engine. The ECU, supplied by Cosworth, is also standardised.
– Private testing is limited to five days per car in LMP2.
– The LMP2 race numbers are white against a blue background.
– Each crew competing in LMP2 must include at least one Silver or Bronze category driver. Driver classification is defined by the FIA according to past results.
– Each driver has a licence issued with a capital of 12 points. In the case of a penalty sanctioning on-track behaviour, the race stewards may order a deduction of points. A driver who loses all their points is suspended for the next race.
– During a pit stop, the changing of tyre the cleaning of the brakes and bodywork are now allowed while the car is being refuelled.
– The use of slick tyres is limited for six hour races: three sets for free practice and four for qualifying and the race. There is no imposed tyre manufacturer.
– For the six hour races, qualifying is held during a 20 minute session, during which two nominated drivers set times, including a «Silver» category driver.
– The time recorded is the average of the fastest lap times of the two drivers.
– Points are awarded to competitors classified at the end of a race: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points for the top ten, then 0.5 points for competitors finishing lower down the order. A bonus point is awarded for pole position (best lap time outright) in each category. Double points are awarded for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This scale is assigned a coefficient of 1.5 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
– A driver must spend at least 1hr 15min on track in order to score points. Maximum driving time is set at 3hrs 30min per driver (for the six hour races). If the ambient temperature is higher than 32°C, the maximum consecutive driving time is limited to 80 minutes.
– The FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers’ title is restricted to LMP1 and LMP2 drivers (combined standings for both LMP categories).
– At the end of the season, the best LMP2 drivers and teams win FIA Endurance Trophies.

ALPINE IN ENDURANCE
In order to support the development of its brand, Alpine has always put its faith in racing. Whether in rallying, single-seater racing or endurance. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest moment is still unquestionably the overall victory of the A442B of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, exactly 40 years ago!

“THE FASTEST LITRE OF PETROL IN THE WORLD”
In 1962, Jean Rédélé began development of the Alpine M63 with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his sights. None of the three cars entered in 1963 made it to the end, but the performances of these prototypes – powered by a little 996cc Gordini engine – were impressive.

The adventure continued with a strategy based on “ingenious economy”. Opting to focus on aerodynamic performance and reduced capacity, Alpine went after the “Index of Thermal Efficiency” and “Index of Performance” trophies. In these categories, the brand won several times at Le Mans. At the other circuits, it scored a host of class wins before its first outright win was claimed by Mauro and Lucien Bianchi in the M65 at the 500 kilometres of Nürburgring in 1965.

The arrival of the Alpine A210 marked a turning point. Whilst appearing similar to the M65, this model finished by convincing Renault to invest in the development of a three-litre V8 engine capable of targeting outright victory… Although the first attempts of the ‘big’ A211 and A220 met with disappointment, the project continued and developed.

VICTORY AT LE MANS!
In 1973, Renault took over control of Alpine. The A440 was therefore presented under the name “Renault Alpine”. The aims of the programme were clear: Alpine must win the newly-created European Two-Litre Sports Car Championship before developing a car capable of winning at Le Mans. The Renault Alpine A440 was refined, becoming the A441. It amassed a series of race wins and claimed the European title with Alain Serpaggi in 1974. A new 1996cc turbo engine, developing some 490bhp, was then installed in the chassis and the car was renamed the A442.

Following the creation of the Renault Sport entity, significant resources were deployed to take part in the World Championship for Makes in 1976. The only A442 competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans secured pole position before retiring during the race.

Counting on the experience acquired, Renault Sport decided to concentrate exclusively on Le Mans. Success finally arrived in 1978. Four cars were entered, with the Alpine A442B driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi winning the race! Having achieved its goals, Renault switched its involvement to Formula 1.

ALPINE STRIKES BACK!
Thirty-five years later, Alpine returned to racing in order to support the brand’s renaissance. The new Alpine A450 beat its rivals to claim two consecutive titles in the European Le Mans Series (2013-2014) and an LMP2 podium finish at the 2014 24 Hours of Mans (7th overall). 2015 witnessed the arrival of the Signatech-Alpine team in the FIA WEC, coming first in the LMP2 category in Shanghai and finishing fourth overall in the championship.

In 2016, the team entered two new closed-cockpit A460 prototypes. The no.36 Signatech-Alpine had an exceptional season. The crew of Lapierre, Menezes and Richelmi won at Spa-Francorchamps, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Nürburgring and in Austin. With one race still to go, Alpine won the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles!

In 2017, Signatech Alpine Matmut placed the new Alpine A470 of Panciatici / Ragues / Negrão fourth overall in the 24-Hours of Lemans and on the LMP2 podium. The rest of the season was marked by a remarkable run of five consecutive podium finishes, which included a win in Austin, to finish third in the championship.

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