Alpine, Renault, Celebrations… what's going on here?
You may be too young to remember the original Alpine sports cars, but they were drop-dead gorgeous racers that not only made passers-by pass out on the roads during the 1960s and 1970s, but also impressed in various rally and circuit events. Oh, and they were typically powered by rear-mounted Renault engines, hence the Renault link.
All I can think about now is tinned chocolates. What has it got to do with Le Mans?
It was busy 'celebrating' an Alpine-backed LMP2 racecar at this year's 24-hour event, while simultaneously setting the rumour mill in full swing with stories of an upcoming Alpine speed machine for the road. The Celebration provides the best indication yet of what a two-seater sports car from the Renault alliance could look like.
There's no word on engines but we do know that it will be mounted in the middle for optimum performance.
Boo, hiss. You must know something about power and stuff...
Well, the most recent Alpine A110-50 concept was powered by the stonking V6 from the Renault Mégane Trophy race car, but industry insiders believe a production version would use a much more sensible unit in order to adhere to the lightweight/low-power mantra of the original cars.
That's a bit boring, isn't it?
If you're only interested in hypercars that develop in excess of 800bhp, you will be bored to tears. But combine the 250bhp 2.0-litre unit from Renault's current hot hatch range with rear-wheel-drive and razor-sharp handling and you have the recipe for a very exciting little machine.
Aren't there enough of those kind of cars around already?
You can never have too many fizzy little sports cars, but you sort of have a point. Porsche has the all-conquering Cayman, Alfa Romeo will sell you a 4C, Audi's new TT is brilliant and Lotus has an entire showroom filled with rivals. But hey, it looks cool, doesn't it?
Yeah it looks nice, but it will have to be priced keenly if it is to succeed...
Crikey, have you just digested a car mag or something? Expect Alpine to charge somewhere between US$45,000-US$80,000 for its road-going model. A big ask for an unproven marque.