Tag Archives: Signatech-Alpine



Alpine completes victory hat-trick

Following back-to-back triumphs in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans 24 Hours, Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes have tallied their third consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class victory at the Nürburgring. Midway through the 2016 campaign, this latest success has further increased the N°36 Signatech-Alpine crew’s advantage at the top of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers. The N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine piloted by Nelson Panciatici, Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng similarly scored points in Germany in seventh position.

Even before they climbed onto the top step of the podium at the Nürburgring, Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes’ weekend had already been a rollercoaster ride of emotions! At the start of the opening free practice session on Friday morning, a mistake by Nicolas gave Signatech-Alpine’s crew of mechanics an early challenge to repair the car in time to allow its three drivers to return to the track and begin their preparations that afternoon.

On Saturday morning, both Alpine A460s were on the pace, with the N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine entry and the N°36 Signatech-Alpine lapping respectively third and fourth-quickest during the final free practice session. Richelmi and Menezes proceeded to qualify the N°36 second on the grid amongst the LMP2 class protagonists, with Panciatici and Cheng posting the tenth-best time in the sister car.

Today’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring got underway at 13:00 under sunny skies. Richelmi maintained second position in the early stages, as Panciatici gained a spot to run ninth. It was not long before the N°35 crew adapted its strategy, with Cheng taking over behind the wheel. Once the field began to space out, Nelson returned to the cockpit while Menezes similarly replaced Richelmi in the N°36.

After battling against two rivals for the LMP2 class lead, Gustavo seized the advantage just before mid-distance and notwithstanding repeated ‘Full Course Yellow’ interventions, Signatech-Alpine stuck firmly to its plan and the American ended his stint still in front. Lapierre was the last of the trio to jump into the N°36, with just over two-and-a-half hours remaining to the chequered flag. Remaining mindful of the gap to Bruno Senna behind, he managed the margin to perfection to bring the car home for its third consecutive triumph. Chinese ace Tung was behind the wheel of the N°35 for the final two hours and produced a solid performance to climb to seventh place.

The result has enabled the N°36 Signatech-Alpine crew to extend its championship lead to 38 points over its closest pursuer. The N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine trio sit tenth.


European Le Mans series

Alpine ELMS


– The Alpine A450 of Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici secured the 2013 ELMS crown thanks to a score of three podium finishes, including outright victory in Hungary, 35 years after the Alpine A442b’s triumph at Le Mans in 1978 with Didier Pironi/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

– Signatech-Alpine claimed fourth place at the final round of the 2013 championship at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, after a drama-packed race. 

Alpine’s renaissance was marked by the brand’s return to motor racing and its maiden season was rewarded with the 2013 European Le Mans Series title.

Signatech-Alpine’s programme for the season was confirmed on March 8 and featured two primary objectives: June’s Le Mans 24 Hours and the European Le Mans Series. In the six months that have elapsed since that announcement, the Alpine A450 has produced a number of top performances, extending from a strong display at Le Mans – which earned the ESCRA Award for the best technical support – to the brand’s first title success of the modern era.

Just two weeks after its landmark victory in Hungary, Signatech-Alpine lined up for the start of the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard with the ELMS title in its sights, 39 years after its last European crown with Alain Serpaggi, Gérard Larousse, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Alain Cudini.

This weekend’s competition saw Pierre Ragues qualify the Alpine A450 on the second row before a cautious start to the race which led to the car initially trailing its chief rival for the championship. However, a lengthy pit stop for the latter enabled the Normandy-based driver to figure in fourth place during his 90-minute stint.

He then handed the car to his team-mate Nelson Panciatici who was forced to pit to change a defective steering wheel shortly afterwards. Overcoming that unscheduled stop, Nelson then successfully fought his way back up the order to clinch the title which came close to slipping from Alpine’s grasp…

Indeed, the N°36 Alpine A450 climbed from seventh place to claim fourth overall after improving its best race lap once again and despite one last pit stop which enabled Panciatici to complete the three-hour race with the pressure off. Fourth place was sufficient to clinch the 2013 ELMS crown for Alpine.

This title is a tremendous reward for a season which I believe was marked by panache, determination and professionalism,” observed Bernard Ollivier after the finish. “Ever since the start of the programme, we have been privileged enough to benefit from strong backing from the media and racing fans alike. We would like to dedicate this title to them. Perhaps it’s just a first step…”

I think we can say that Alpine is back,” observed Signatech Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “This team is like a family; a family which has worked very hard. It wasn’t easy because the programme got off to a late start and it took a little time to get everything into motion. It’s been a highly emotional ride, too. I would also like to congratulate Paul-Loup Chatin on his races which have earned him the title in his category. He was a firm believer in our project and I hope to see him become part of our LM P2 programme next year. It’s too soon to talk about 2014 but we are exploring the possibility of running two Alpine A450s at Le Mans as part of a broader programme.”

Philippe Sinault’s associate Didier Calmels added: “This title is the perfect reward for the hard work and sacrifices put in by Philippe Sinault. He has been the perfect leader and has always put the team first. His passion has undoubtedly lifted this programme with Alpine.”

The team’s drivers were also moved by the occasion, including Pierre Ragues who produced an impeccable season: “This is a very moving moment, and pretty incredible. We survived a few scares but the main thing is to have won the championship. This title showcases our level and we have made consistent progress. It’s time to celebrate our success which Signatech-Alpine deserves 100 percent!”

Nelson Panciatici added: “It was a drama-filled race which turned out to be quite difficult. I pushed as hard as I could during my first stint to move back up the leaderboard, but the end of the race was easier. Perhaps we were a little fortunate today but our sole objective was always the title. Everyone has worked extremely hard on this programme and today we form a real family, so this is a fabulous recompense.”

Like his elders, Paul-Loup Chatin had a dramatic race at Le Castellet, but Alpine’s ‘junior’ driver succeeded in coming second in the LM PC class to clinch the category’s title!

Tristan Gommendy was with Signatech-Alpine at Le Castellet to share the title celebrations. In addition to contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours with Pierre and Nelson, he carried out a significant amount of test work in the Alpine A450 in the course of the year.

2013 3 Hours of Paul Ricard – final positions:
1, Murphy Prototypes (Hirschi/Hartley), 93 laps
2, Morand Racing (Klien/Gachnang), +6.255s
3, Jota Sport (Turvey/Dolan), +21.691s
4, Signatech-Alpine (Ragues/Panciatici), +1m24.350s
5, Boutsen Ginion Racing (Kuppens/Kapadia), +1m38.954s. Etc.

Final 2013 European Le Mans Series standings (Teams)
1, Signatech Alpine (85 points)

2, Thiriet by TDS Racing (77)
3, Jota Sport (71). Etc.

Final 2013 European Le Mans Series standings (Drivers)
1, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues (85 points)

2, Pierre Thiriet (77)
3, Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan (71). Etc

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!


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.”