Happy Birthday Alpine--
More than 750 Alpines and their owners – not to mention thousands of interested visitors – attended from across Europe. Thanks to the presence of many well-known drivers linked to the brand from its origins right up to the modern day, plus a packed program of activities and an eclectic range of entertainment, the gathering broke all records in terms of participation, spectacle and emotion.
ALPINE JOINS FORCES WITH ITS FORMER STAFF AND AFICIONADOS
Since 2012, Alpine has been enjoying a period of effervescence, passion and creativity. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the legendary Berlinette and brought to life in the form of the spectacular A110-50, Alpine’s rebirth grabbed further headlines with a triumphant return to the racetrack with the A450 in 2013 – a success that was consolidated in 2014 by a second consecutive endurance racing crown in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
2015 marks a significant milestone during this exciting period of renewal, not only because of the 60th anniversary celebrations for Jean Rédélé’s brand, but also thanks to a flurry of creative flair.
Organised by the AAA, this weekend in Dieppe provides Alpine with an opportunity to share this fever and enthusiasm with all the members of its extended family who will be able to get up close to the following unique cars that have characterised the year:
- The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo, a full-scale version of the virtual concept car;
- The Alpine Celebration, sporting a special new Dieppe livery;
- The A450-B which is competing for the first time in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Organising the largest-ever gathering of Alpine aficionados in Dieppe to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary clearly represents a colossal challenge. It is, however, a challenge to which the AAA’s volunteer teams have risen magnificently, with the support of their partners, the city of Dieppe, the wider Dieppe Maritime conurbation, the department and the region. There have been painstaking preparations and a great many logistical hurdles have had to be overcome to allow us to enjoy what promises to be an unforgettable weekend – one that will be marked by friendship, sharing and enthusiasm. In other words, a thoroughly Alpine weekend!
Bernard Ollivier, CEO, Société des Automobiles Alpine
ENTERTAINMENT AND HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEKEND
For everybody – exhibitors and visitors alike – the weekend’s chief attraction and focal point was the large Alpine village located on the seafront lawn and surrounded by displays of participants’ vehicles.
At the heart of the large marquee, an exhibition of some of the brand’s most iconic models taught attendees about Alpine’s rich history. Close by was an area entirely given over to trade stalls and specialist literature, offering visitors the opportunity to enhance their Alpine education and unearth memorabilia and scale models emblematic of their favourite brand.
Gran Turismo driving simulators enabled attendees to virtually take the wheel of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo – with a visitors’ competition thrown in for extra spice. There was also a special showdown between Signatech-Alpine drivers Paul-Loup Chatin, Nelson Panciatici and Vincent Capillaire, who took each other on to set the fastest lap time around the same circuit. The winner received the honour of leading a huge parade of vehicles through Dieppe behind the wheel of the Alpine Celebration, designed to pay homage to Jean Rédélé. The parade was unquestionably one of the weekend’s most popular and poignant activities.
What’s more, all those drivers present who have shone for Alpine across the various different motorsport disciplines had the opportunity to regale fans with their stories and anecdotes from their time spent with the brand during enlightening interviews broadcast over the public address system.
Visitors to the AAA stand (Amicale des Anciens d’Alpine) was able to discover the new book ’60 ans d’Alpine à Dieppe 1955-2015’ (60 Years of Alpine in Dieppe 1955-2015) in the company of its author Louis Granon, who signed copies of the first volume that is dedicated to the brand’s motorsport heritage. The AAA, meanwhile, presented the brochure that has been specially published for the occasion.
Five tourist trail routes allowed participants to ‘stretch their legs’ by setting off in search of some of the region’s most iconic locations and the people who so enthusiastically bring them to life.
THE ALPINE RENAISSANCE
Frequently debated and palpably desired by fans for almost 20 years, the Alpine brand’s revival by Renault needed to be handled correctly if it was to prove a success. Expectations were so high that disappointment simply wasn’t an option!
The unveiling of the Alpine A110-50 concept car to mark the 50th anniversary of the Berlinette in 2012 represented a timely litmus test as to whether the interest was still strong. It was.
On November 5, 2012, Carlos Ghosn officially announced the rebirth of Alpine and a design project for a ‘21st Century Berlinette’, scheduled for completion in 2016.
When no fewer than five A110s were entered for the 2013 edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique – 40 years on from Alpine’s famous one-two-three finish in 1973 – the enthusiasm generated was such that reneging on the decision to revive the brand was no longer an option!
With Bernard Ollivier at its helm, Société des Automobiles Alpine is now hard at work on the new ‘21st Century Berlinette’. The general concept and style are already fixed, with efforts currently focused on the design of individual parts, modelling and production. To this end, substantial investment has been made in the Dieppe factory, while disguised prototypes have been on the road to evaluate a variety of different technological solutions.
Whilst preparing for the introduction of this new model, Alpine is honouring its proud motorsport heritage with a hugely successful participation in the European Le Mans Series and – since the beginning of 2015 – the WEC (World Endurance Championship). This period has also seen the brand’s return to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In 2015, away from the racetrack, Alpine has also stolen the limelight by successively unveiling two significant show cars.
Alpine Vision Gran Turismo : as the star of an eponymously-named video game, this car embodies all the passion so synonymous with Alpine by blending sportiness and modernity. The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo projects Alpine’s famous arrowed ‘A’ logo into a new dimension in an entirely original manner.
Alpine Celebration : the clue here is very much in the name – this show car has been specially designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the company founded by Jean Rédélé. Drawing upon the stylistic cues of some of the most iconic cars from the brand’s history, the Alpine Celebration pays tribute to Alpine’s motorsport-honed DNA and created surprise and emotion with its appearances at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours and Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier in the year.