Tag Archives: Nelson Panciatici

European Le Mans series

Nelson Panciatici


After a historic victory on the Hungaroring circuit, following 35 years absence, the Signatech-Alpine team currently share first place in the European Le Mans Series championship. As the last race of the season gets ready to roar on the Castellet circuit, Nelson Panciatici feels ready to do battle in a final dreams are made of!

The Alpine A450 has demonstrably shown its potential in each race, with an overall positive outcome of two podiums and a win in the four races of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) championship. However, to take the title, a high level performance on the Castellet circuit is now practically mandatory. The Signatech-Alpine team, managed by Philippe Sinault, have worked on every last detail that could possibly make a difference.

The team’s motivation is shared by a confident Nelson Panciatici:

“The Alpine A450 has the capacity to win, that’s without doubt, but all points are for the taking, including pole position, as they could make all the difference in the final count! I feel confident because the whole Signatech-Alpine team are motivated to win and they’ve worked hard for it. With my co-driver, Pierre Ragues, we’ve shown several times that we can get the performance and run a good race. Also, I know Le Castellet well, I like the layout, but I still went on the ellip6 simulator to get my marks again. We had the fastest lap in the winter trials, our Michelin tyres responded really well and were in perfect harmony with our car! Personally, I don’t want to focus on the title in this race but, as always, on the aim to win; and Le Castellet is my home, there will still time to review our strategy because the main thing will be to outdistance our track rivals for the title! Driving for Alpine is a source of pride which gives us all that little bit of an edge which should tip the scales in our favour!”

For the Signatech-Alpine team, a victory in the championship still remains the overriding priority for this weekend and Nelson Panciatici will, once more, want to be a part of it!

Le Mans

Nelson Panciatici 1

LE MANS 24 HOURS 2013 (June 22 & 23)..


The Signatech-Nissan team successfully ran through all their tests on Test Day and demonstrated just how competitive the Alpine A450 is without driving for the sake of pure performance. With these positive results, Nelson Panciatici feels ready to take on Le Mans 24 Hours!

Nelson Panciatici, who reached the foot of the podium last year even though a flat tyre three hours from the finish knocked him out of second place in the LMP2 class, knows he has a trump card to play even though competition looks fierce:

“The battle in LMP2 is going to be intense,” Nelson Panciatici tells us. “I am confident, we have been competitive and reliable since the start of the year and our Michelin tyres work perfectly on the Alpine A450. But Le Mans 24 Hours is a different kind of race and we have to stay grounded, a podium win would be a nice reward for everyone and we will seize any opportunity to win! I worked hard on my fitness regime because it will be difficult to stay on top form for 24 hours.

“Test Day reminded me how intense the traffic can be and how hard it is to get a clear lap, I didn’t complete a single lap without some hold-up, it is part Le Mans’ magic and we have to adapt to it.

“Our tests were good which leads us to believe we will perform well and our strategic choices could make all the difference. I am calm because with my co-drivers, Pierre Ragues and Tristan Gommendy, we have all we need to aim for a “performance” in the LMP2 class, even though I know it won’t be easy and competition will be tough. I don’t have a lot of experience in Le Mans 24 Hours, this is only the second time I take part, but I have great support from the whole Signatech-Alpine team, and even though I know we have to be vigilant, I still feel we can do it!”

The LMP2 battle is going to be a serious challenge as more than 20 cars have signed up in this class and the show will be as intense as that in LMP1! The Signatech-Alpine team want to fight for lead positions and Nelson Panciatici will do his best to get there!



Alpine back on the podium at Imola…

–           Alpine A450 drivers Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues completed the 3 Hours of Imola (round two of the 2013 European Le Mans Series) in second place.

–           Thanks to their first podium finish of the season, Signatech-Alpine and its drivers are currently second in the championship’s provisional standings.

–           Signatech-Alpine’s focus will now switch to its preparations for the 90thanniversary Le Mans 24 Hours on June 22-23. The Alpine A450 will be shared at the French race by Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Tristan Gommendy, with Paul-Loup Chatin as the team’s reserve driver.


After being represented by works drivers Jean-Pierre Jabouille (Alpine A440), Jean-Pierre Jarier, Jacques Laffite, Jody Scheckter and Henri Pescarolo (Alpine A442) at Imola in the 1970s, the French make returned to the famous Italian venue this weekend with an Alpine A450 shared by Signatech-Alpine’s Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.

The first day of free practice saw the team top the order as it prepared for the second round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series. In qualifying, Nelson Panciatici put the Alpine A450 on the second row of the grid.

The Frenchman defended fourth place during his first stint and, on Lap 24, the Alpine A450 was the first car to pit for fuel. Nelson Panciatici handed over to Pierre Ragues, although Signatech-Alpine’s chief rivals all opted for a single driver- and tyre-change.

Pierre Ragues re-joined in fifth place and the car made its second stop shortly after the race’s halfway point. This time, he stayed at the wheel and the team’s offset strategy began to pay dividends, since he re-emerged in third place and started to gain ground on the top two cars.

Despite a few drops of rain at different places round the track, the Normandy-based driver continued to reduce the gap. After the car’s last pit stop and driver-change, Nelson Panciatici kept up the pressure and soon moved up to second place to claim Alpine’s first podium finish since the brand’s triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1978.

“We were fast throughout the race,” noted Nelson. “Despite the traffic, we managed to stay at the front of the field and I kept up a strong pace all the way to the flag. It’s a great result for the team, but I can’t help feeling we had the potential to win…”

“The race enabled us to learn a great deal about the car on Michelin slicks,” added Pierre. “I am very pleased with our lap times and this result is a big confidence-booster ahead of Le Mans. Next time out, we will need to put in a strong performance for a whole 24 hours!”

“Both our drivers did a splendid job,” observed Signatech-Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “We still need a little time to fully grasp the potential of our Michelin tyres in race trim. We preferred not to take the risk of double-stinting, but our tyres would have allowed us to. We are competitive and we will now be able to optimise our strategy thanks to the data we collected at Imola. There is a great deal of interest in this project and a podium finish in Italy puts us in a very positive frame of mind for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Alpine’s junior driver Paul-Loup Chatin won the LM PC class at Imola and has moved to the top of his championship.

Signatech-Alpine will now commence a specific programme in order to prepare for Le Mans. Next week, Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Tristan Gommendy will all be at Nevers Magny-Cours, France, to get in some night-time running in the Alpine A450. The team will then have two Alpine A450s for the official pre-Le Mans Test Day on June 9 when it will have a new ‘low downforce’ aerodynamic package.

Imola – final positions:
1, Thiriet by TDS Racing (Beche / Thiriet), 108 laps

2, Signatech-Alpine (Panciatici / Ragues), +46.2s
3, Morand Racing (Mailleux / Gachnang), +1 lap
4, Race Performance (Frey / Niederhauser), +1 lap
5, Greaves Motorsport (Kimber-Smith / Heinemeier), +1 lap

European Le Mans Series standings (after two rounds):
1, Thiriet by TDS Racing (40 points)
2, Signatech-Alpine and Race Performance (30) 
4, Jota Sport (27)


Nelson Panciatici photo Eric Regouby

The Alpine A450 target the podium at Imola…

  • The second round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series will take teams to Imola, some 40 kilometres from Bologna, Italy, on May 17-18. 
  • The 3 Hours of Imola will be the car’s last official outing before the focus switches to the 90th anniversary edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 22-23. 
  • At Imola, the Alpine A450 will be shared by Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues whose mission will be to harvest valuable European Le Mans Series points. 

A little more than a month after its maiden appearance at Silverstone, Signatech-Alpine heads for Imola with its sights set high. Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues will benefit from an evolution version of the Alpine A450 which has been adapted to meet the Italian venue’s specific characteristics. 

Because of its layout, Imola makes different demands of cars than Le Mans, but Signatech-Alpine will be fully concentrated on the second clash of the five-round 2013 ELMS before it turns its attention to the season’s 24-hour showpiece.

“The set-up of the Alpine A450 will be very different in order to cater for the frequent hard acceleration and heavy braking,” notes Signatech-Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “The chassis will also be fine-tuned to allow the drivers to ride the Imola kerbs.”

Signatech-Alpine, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues are currently fourth in the provisional European Le Mans Series standings. “Our first race at Silverstone was very frustrating,” recalls Philippe Sinault. “The extremely long safety car period and the interruption of the race before the three hours were up prevented us from ending our first outing of the year on the podium. The drivers and everyone in the team are therefore very keen to secure a top result in Italy! We want to show what we are capable of and also come away with points.”

For Nelson Panciatici, the trip to Italy will be something of a learning curve: “I have worked hard on the simulator to familiarise myself with the track and I’ve started to find my marks. Traffic promises to play a big role during the race and it will be good practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the Alpine A450 in order to show how competitive it is. There’s still a big sense of frustration to clear after what happened at Silverstone!”

Pierre Ragues has already raced a prototype car at Imola, so he has prior knowledge of the venue’s subtleties: “It’s a circuit that’s got a history and real character. The pace is always very fast but the walls are never far away. We have done a considerable amount of work on the simulator and the technical team has made further improvements to the Alpine A450 on its new Michelin tyres. Coping with the traffic will be one of the keys to success and every second will count because the competition in the European Le Mans Series is very close.”

Le Mans

Alpine at Paul Ricard 2013


Less than three weeks after the announcement of Alpine’s return to motorsport by Renault’s Chief Operations Officer Carlos Tavares, the N°36 Alpine made its track debut this week. 

The programme’s three drivers – Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Tristan Gommendy – took advantage of the official European Le Mans Series pre-season test at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, to get their first taste of the newcomer ahead of the 2013 campaign. 

The chief objectives of the session were to test the changes made to the Alpine’s chassis and optimise its set-up to function with the latest Michelin rubber. Different tyres were evaluated in daylight and after nightfall in order to prepare for the opening rounds of the European Le Mans Series, as well as for the Le Mans 24 Hours. 

In addition the technical groundwork, the three drivers used the session to find their marks in the N°36 Alpine and prepare the ground for forthcoming developments. Wednesday morning’s performance run saw Nelson Panciatici claim the fastest time of the two days. 

I am pleased with the work we were able to get in,” observed Signatech-Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “We tested the reliability of a high number of parts and also worked on the different new-spec tyres our partner Michelin had brought for us to evaluate. The next step will be to look at all the data before choosing the tyres we will race this year. Another important point was that all three riders were able to enjoy track time and Wednesday morning’s encouraging run allowed us to target a quick lap time. It’s all looking good for the beginning of the season.” 

Nelson Panciatici: “We made good progress with Michelin. I did a number of runs with different options and I believe we succeeded in collecting some useful information. We are working in the right direction and I hope that will pay off at Silverstone!” 

Pierre Ragues: “Every day brings us closer to Alpine’s first race. The team has worked very hard over the winter and this week’s test enabled us to make good progress with Michelin’s new tyres. It’s all feeling very positive, so let’s hope it all comes together at Silverstone!”  

Tristan Gommendy: “My aim during these two days was to familiarise myself with the N°36 Alpine. I need to find my marks with both the car and the team. We worked on typical endurance racing-type stints without any particular pressure. It’s just the start of an exciting new adventure!” 

The two-day official test also provided Alpine’s junior driver Paul-Loup Chatin with a chance to get in some track time. He forms part of Signatech-Alpine’s 2013 line-up and has been named as the reserve driver for the N°36 Alpine at Le Mans. He will also drive an LMPC car in the European Le Mans Series.

F1Weekly podcast # 619

Daniel Abt back on top in Jerez


Alpine is probably the only French automotive brand to have been crowned in all three of the rally, single-seater, and prototype motor sports. After many international achievements in endurance, with the unforgettable overall win in the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours, Alpine is back in Le Mans this year for the most difficult endurance race in the world.

After battling brilliantly in the LMP2 category of the 2012 World Endurance Championship (WEC), and a fine fourth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he was awarded the Jean Rondeau prize for best rookie, Nelson Panciatici is now officially an Alpine driver. He will race in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) as part of the Signatech-Alpine Team run by Philippe Sinault. His partner is Pierre Ragues, another Frenchman, he has known since his Formula Renault 2.0 days and they raced together in the WEC last year. The two men, who get on very well, are a formidable team with a goal to win!

For this great comeback of the Alpine brand to the top level of motor sports, Nelson Panciatici would never, for anything in the world, have wanted to miss this extraordinary opportunity to drive an Alpine-Nissan kitted out with Michelin tyres.

He tells us: “I was hoping for more endurance racing because I really enjoyed my first season in the sport. I was also in a top team of skilled and passionate people. I did have some offers I was looking into very seriously but when Philippe Sinault mentioned the Alpine project to me, I jumped at the chance! Driving for a constructor as famous as Alpine is an incredible opportunity for a young driver and I didn’t hesitate for a second! I’m really pleased to be part of the Signatech-Alpine team and with Pierre as my co-driver, we’re aiming for victory in the LMP2 category from the start. Expectations will be high from everyone but I feel I can take on this responsibility because I know the whole team is there to help us and we’ll have a good car. I hope we have as good a season as we did last year, with a win to crown it!”

Amazing drivers like Patrick Depailler, Jean Pierre Jabouille, Henri Pescarolo, Didier Pironi, Jean Claude Andruet, Jean Luc Thérier, Jean Pierre Jaussaud too, and many others, have all shone behind the wheel of an Alpine. A new adventure starts today and new generations are already “tweeting” with frenzy: “Alpine is back at Le Mans.” Nelson Panciatici and the whole Signatech-Alpine team are ready to take on the challenge and add another chapter to the history of Alpine!