Alpine and Signatech are continuing to develop their new World Endurance Championship hypercar, the A424, and have conducted a recent two-day program at the Motorland Circuit in Spain.
Tests in the summer at Circuit Paul Ricard in France resulted in further enhancements and engineers finalizing the car’s management software. These new features were then tested in a simulator, followed by a full-scale run on the Lurcy-Lévis circuit, with 780km (484mi) completed during two days of pre-testing. As well as validating these choices, this running also provided an opportunity to fine-tune the brake systems, differential systems and a number of other essential points.
Then last week the team moved to Aragon in Spain where the A424 began a new development session at Motorland with a two-day program. Punctuated by short and long runs, the laps on the track and the drivers’ impressions of the car provided valuable data and information for the engineers.
Team driver Nicolas Lapierre completed 758km (470mi) on the first day, including two 36-lap runs. These enabled the teams to work on various elements of the car, particularly the ride height, to optimize the aerodynamics.
“The tests went well,” said Philippe Sinault, Alpine Endurance team principal. “The positives from the tests at Circuit Paul Ricard were confirmed at Motorland and the car continued to display a healthy behavior. It was a pivotal stage in the program because, after completing the shakedown tasks, we started to get all the car’s elements to work together: the hybrid system, engine and chassis.
“Matthieu (Vaxiviere) and Nico put in a series of stints over more than 1,500km, sometimes even double stints, with no reliability issues, so it was quite satisfying and constructive. During this stage, we could really begin our operating role, with a particular emphasis on understanding the car and getting the right setups. The smooth running of the team was palpable on the human side, which genuinely encouraged discussions ahead of the big challenge ahead. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re on the right track.”
The target of the long, double-stint runs was to understand the endurance of the Michelin WEC 2024 tires and the thermal behavior under the hood. The shorter runs were used to adjust the aerodynamic balance, weight distribution and the hybrid system deployment. The teams also took advantage of these two days of testing to begin more in-depth work on the mechanical setup.
“The work of the various teams involved in this A424 project continues to progress, and a genuine osmosis is developing between the different actors involved, which is really pleasing,” said Bruno Famin, vice president of Alpine Motorsports.
“All the shakedown stages are now behind us and we’ve got down to the nitty-gritty at Aragon, with the fine-tuning of the car’s different systems and the aero work. Things are moving in the right direction, but we’re only at the beginning of the process and there’s still a tremendous amount to do in all areas. We’re focusing on the upcoming phases, specifically the first endurance test and preparations for homologation.”
The A424 will be back on track at Jerez from October 17 to 19 for two more days of testing ahead of the first endurance session, scheduled for mid-November, with the homologation deadline fast approaching. Before that, the car will return to the team base to allow the engineers to continue fine-tuning the garage phases including the fire-up and to analyze the electrical and electronic components.