In the LMP2 category, which has undergone extensive changes for this year with much faster cars, Alpine is represented with two A470 prototypes. The cars, which will once again bear the numbers 35 and 36, will be competing on behalf of the Signatech Alpine Matmut team.
Having supported the Signatech Alpine team last season as one of its partners, the French health insurance group Matmut has strengthened its involvement by becoming a title partner this year.
Winner of four rounds – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – and World Champion in its category last year, the no.36 car will be looking to retain its title!
Confirmed as one of the drivers in December of last year, Nicolas Lapierre will spearhead the no.36 crew. Champion alongside Nicolas and Gustavo Menezes in 2016, Stéphane Richelmi will also be pursuing his career with Alpine. He is the first driver to be confirmed for the no.35 A470.
The Signatech Alpine Matmut team will very shortly announce the names of its four other drivers for the 2017 season.
Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director: “Step by step, we are putting the team together for the 2017 season. After securing four race wins and the world titles in 2016, we fully expect our rivals to come at us and so we have picked a strong line-up for our Alpine A470s. With Nicolas Lapierre as the lead driver, the no.36 car will undoubtedly be the lead car. The no.35 car will help us to maximise our chances, especially at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We are therefore delighted to keep working with Stéphane Richelmi. We would also like to welcome our friends from the Matmut Group, which has graduated to the rank of title partner.”
Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal: “With the introduction of a new generation of cars, the LMP2 category takes on a whole new dimension and we’re delighted to be part of the adventure with the Signatech Alpine Matmut team. In our workshops, the mechanics are busy assembling the first Alpine A470. It’s a very beautiful car, the production quality and the finishing have reached new heights. With these new prototypes, performance is expected to increase by 15 to 20%. We must therefore choose the very best drivers if we want to keep aiming to win. With Nicolas and Stéphane, we already have a couple of trump cards in our hand.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “It’s always exciting to see your name of the list of entries for the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That means that we are close to the start of the season and I’m no different to all the other LMP2 driver: I can’t wait! Having been involved in some of the development work, I’m already fairly familiar with the Alpine A470 and I think its performance will be very interesting. The Signatech Alpine Matmut team is already working very hard to prepare the coming season, because we are all determined to successfully defend our titles!”
Stéphane Richelmi: “After the perfect season in 2016, I was keen to continue working with Alpine, so I’m very pleased to appear on the list of entries in an A470! We have to be realistic: it will be extremely difficult to do any better than last year, but I think it’s important to pursue our relationship and for me to be a part of the renewal of Alpine. I’m also really looking forward to driving the new car. The weight-to-power ratio and downforce levels will be close to those you get on a GP2 car, so that promises to be very exciting!”
NICOLAS LAPIERRE IN BRIEF
Born on 2 April 1984 in Thonon-les-Bains
2016 FIA WEC – LMP2 1st
2015 FIA WEC – LMP2 5th
2014 FIA WEC 6th
2013 FIA WEC 4th
2012 FIA WEC 3rd
2010 Le Mans Series – LMP1 2nd
2009 Le Mans Series – LMP1 3rd
2009 Asian Le Mans Series – LMP1 3rd
2006 A1 GP 1st
2004 Formula 3 Euro Series 3rd
2003 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix 1st
STÉPHANE RICHELMI IN BRIEF
Born on 17 March 1990 in Monaco
2016 FIA WEC – LMP2 1st
2015 Blancpain Sprint Series 6th
2014 GP2 Series 9th
2013 GP2 Series 8th
2012 GP2 Series 18th
2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series 26th
2010 Italian F3 Championship 2nd
2009 Italian F3 Championship 6th
2008 Formula Renault 2.0 WEC 16th
2006 Formula Renault 1.6 Belgium 12th