Alpine was founded in 1955 by Jean Rédélé, the brand has set itself apart with its French-style sports cars. In 2018, the brand presented the new A110, a sports car faithful to Alpine’s timeless principles of compactness, lightness, agility and driving pleasure. The Alpine Business Unit was created in 2021 and thus became the brand dedicated to innovative, authentic, exclusive sportscars of the Renault Group, benefiting from the heritage and craftsmanship of its historic plant in Dieppe and the Alpine Racing and Alpine Cars teams engineering mastery.

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History

Subsidiary of Groupe Renault, Alpine Cars is a French manufacturer of racing and sports cars. The Alpine marque has been recently relaunched in 2017 introduction of the new Alpine A110. Made in Dieppe, France, the new Alpine went on sale in 2017 initially in Europe, followed by other markets worldwide. Alpine will be managed by a small team of passionate experts within Groupe Renault, with one sole mission – to meet and exceed the expectations of the demanding sport premium customer. Alpine will draw on the extensive resources of Groupe Renault, and Renault Sport.

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History of Alpine

The Société des Automobiles Alpine SAS, commonly known as Alpine is a French manufacturer of racing and sports cars established in 1955. The Alpine car marque was created in 1954. Jean Rédélé, the founder of Alpine, was originally a Dieppe garage proprietor who began to achieve success in motorsport with one of the few French cars that were produced just after the Second World War, the Renault 4CV. The company has been closely related to Renault through its history, and was bought by it in 1973. Production of Alpine models ceased in 1995. The Alpine marque has been recently relaunched, with the 2017

Founded by Frenchman Jean Rédélé in 1955
Original A110 Berlinette launched in 1962
Dieppe factory built in 1969
Alpine acquired by Groupe Renault in 1973
Alpine owes its existence to one man – Jean Rédélé. Born in 1922 in Dieppe, France, Rédélé was a lifelong car enthusiast and a gifted driver and mechanic. He studied in Paris as a young man before establishing a car dealership in his home town, selling Renaults. A keen and competitive rally driver, Rédélé entered his Renault 4 CV in various motorsport events throughout the early Fifties, upgrading his car with each passing year.

Rédélé achieved a series of class wins in famous motorsport events such as the Mille Miglia road race and the Critérium des Alpes rally (also known as Coupe des Alpes). Having identified a gap in the market, and encouraged by his motorsport successes, Rédélé established his sports car company in 1955. He chose the name Alpine in tribute to the Critérium des Alpes rally – scene of his greatest competitive achievement to date – which was staged in the Alps mountain range in the south of France each year.

The tight, twisty Alpine roads gave Rédélé not only his company’s name; they also determined the fundamental set of technical principles that would define every Alpine car. Rédélé recognised that it wasn’t outright power or brute force that made a car quick on a twisty rally stage, but light weight, compact dimensions and agility.

His first car was the Alpine A106, which was based on the Renault 4 CV chassis. In 1958 his second car, the A108, arrived with a chassis all of its own, but it wasn’t until the A110 Berlinette debuted in 1962 that his fledgling company really began to find its feet. By now Alpine and Renault were close collaborators, Alpine cars being sold and serviced by Renault dealerships.

By the early Seventies, Alpine was a major force in top-flight rally competition. In 1971 Alpine won the world famous Rallye Monte Carlo for the first time, then again in 1973. The company went on to win the World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title later that year, its finest achievement to date. Rédélé’s company had well and truly arrived.

All the while, Alpine’s road car sales were growing. Rédélé built a dedicated factory in Dieppe in 1969 – the same facility that is producing the all-new A110 today – and in 1971 the replacement for A110, the A310, entered production. Two years later, Alpine was acquired by Groupe Renault.

Alpine achieved its most famous motorsport triumph in 1978; overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The factory continued to release new and innovative road cars throughout the Seventies and Eighties, including the A310 V6 and the GTA.

Alpine production would eventually cease in 1995. More than 30,000 Alpine road cars had been built across 40 years, along with more than 100 single-seater and prototype racing cars. During the marque’s dormant years Alpine enthusiasts kept the brand alive across the globe by forming owners’ clubs and campaigning various Alpine models in historic motorsport events. Now, a new chapter is being written into the Alpine history books.

Alpine founder Jean Rédélé once commented: “I chose the name Alpine for my company because for me, this is an adjective that epitomises the pleasure of driving on mountain roads. The most fun I ever had behind the wheel was driving through the Alps in my five-speed 4 CV, and it was essential for me that my customers should experience this same level of enjoyment in the car I wanted to build. In this respect, the name Alpine is both symbolic and entirely appropriate.”

Alpine key dates
1955 Creation of Société des Automobiles Alpine. Launch of the A106
1962 Launch of the A110
1971 1st victory at the Monte Carlo rally
1973 Alpine wins World Rally Championship for manufacturers. Acquired by Groupe Renault
1976 Launch of A310 V6
1978 Alpine wins 24 Hours of Le Mans
1985 Launch of GTA
1991 Launch of A610
1995 Alpine production discontinued
2012 Announcement of an Alpine car project
2015 Presentation of Alpine Célébration Concept race car at 24 Hours of Le Mans
2016 Alpine relaunch announced and presentation of Alpine Vision show car

Alpine in Motorsport

  • Founder Jean Rédélé competed in rallies and road races
  • Alpine’s highlights include World Rally Championship and Le Mans victories
  • Alpine competed across the board in single-seaters, rallying and endurance racing
  • In 2016, Alpine won Le Mans and the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Championship

Proving the performance, agility and durability of his cars in the crucible of motorsport was of utmost importance to Jean Rédélé. Alpine has competed at the highest level of rallying and circuit racing for decades, recording a string of famous victories that belies the company’s modest size. With that same ambitious and determined spirit Alpine today competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The one-make Alpine Europa Cup, meanwhile, demonstrates the A110’s inherent agility and performance on the race track.

Although Alpine is perhaps best known for its rallying exploits in the Sixties and Seventies, and for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978, the company has, in fact, competed right across the motorsport spectrum. Alpine has built no fewer than 70 single-seater racing cars, including two Formula 1 machines, and some 37 sports prototypes for endurance racing.

The company also counts several rallycross championships to its credit, while amateur competitors have recorded in excess of 1,000 individual victories in hill climbs, club racing events and autotests. Demonstrably, motorsport is a core component of Alpine’s DNA.

In fact, it’s true to say the company was as much a builder of competition cars as road-going sports cars when it was founded by Rédélé in 1955. The Frenchman had already earned himself a reputation as a formidable driver, thanks to a series of class victories in high-profile events such as the Critérium des Alpes rally. Campaigning modified Renault 4 CVs, Rédélé quickly proved his ability to prepare cars for motorsport, too.

By the early Sixties Alpine cars were competing throughout Europe in rallies and road races, as well as on purpose-built race circuits. In 1963 the aerodynamic, long-tail M63 prototype – the company’s first dedicated circuit racer – won the French sports car championship. The following year the improved M64 prototype managed the same feat, as well as clinching a class victory at Le Mans.

Driving Alpine’s first Formula 3 car, Frenchman Henri Grandsire won the French F3 championship in the same year. A string of national rally championship victories would follow soon after, the A110 victorious in Spain, France, Bulgaria and Romania, among others. In 1971, three A110s locked out the podium at the world-famous Rallye Monte Carlo, a feat Alpine repeated two years later. That dominant performance on the twisty, snow-covered mountain roads of the Monte would prove to be a portentous moment; Alpine went on to win the World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title later that year.

It was in 1978 that Alpine recorded one of its most celebrated motorsport successes. Driving the A442B sports prototype, Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, lapping the 8-mile Circuit de la Sarthe 369 times. By the mid-Nineties, Alpine had racked up 26 domestic and international rally titles, four rallycross championships and six single-seater titles.

Using those decades of success as a springboard, Alpine returned to front-line motorsport in 2013 in a collaboration with French race stable Signatech. It immediately proved to be a triumphant return to racing; the marque’s A450 prototype won the European Le Mans Series title at its first attempt, and again in 2014.

From there, Signatech-Alpine graduated to the FIA World Endurance Championship, competing once again on the world stage. The A450B secured a race victory in the LMP2 category at the 6 Hours of Shanghai in that first year. In 2016, that car’s replacement, the A460, won four of the nine rounds to secure the LMP2 WEC title for Alpine, the most hard-fought of those victories coming at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alpine continued to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017, winning its class at the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas.

A racing version of the A110, the A110 Cup, has been developed by Signatech in close partnership with Alpine’s own engineers. With power lifted to 270PS and weight lowered to just 1050kg, the competition car is the ultimate expression of the A110’s remarkable agility and thrilling on-track performance.

Additionally, Alpine has announced a one-make series for the A110 Cup. From 2018 the six-round series will take in some of the most iconic circuits in Europe, including Silverstone in the UK and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Operated by Alpine’s FIA World Endurance Championship partner, Signatech, the Alpine Europa Cup further demonstrates Alpine’s commitment to motorsport.

Bernard Ollivier, Deputy Managing Director, Alpine, comments: “Alpine is one of those rare automotive brands that comes from motorsport. Jean Rédélé created Alpine because of the success he had in motorsport. When we relaunched Alpine, we decided very early on that we would engage the brand once again in racing.

“It was a very important decision because motorsport is in Alpine’s DNA. The marque has achieved so much in racing over the years and I’m very pleased we have been able to continue that story by winning the European Le Mans Series and the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Championship.

“We also decided it was important for us to demonstrate that Alpine’s motorsport DNA is present in the A110 production car. That’s why we have announced the Alpine Europa Cup. With very little modification the A110 becomes a thrilling racing car, highlighting its inherent performance and agility. The series will also allow amateur racers to become an important part of Alpine’s motorsport story.”

 

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