Bahco World

TAGS: Alpine, Shanghai, China, WEC, Season, Bahco, race, FIA, title, world champion

Rounding off an exceptional season that saw the team win four races – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Signatech-Alpine claimed the LMP2 Category Teams' and Drivers titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

After two seasons full of panache, which saw Alpine claim two European titles, the team decided to fly the flag for France on the world stage as it entered the FIA WEC. The 2015 season, essentially focused on learning about racing at this level, nonetheless saw the Alpine A450b win its first race at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

This year, the team's ambitions were raised a notch with the entry of two new Alpine A460s.

After winning races at Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, the Nürburgring and Austin, Alpine had a chance of securing the title this weekend at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

The race got off a dramatic start, with some enthusiastic racing on display at the opening corner.
In an attempt to save his tyres in the extremely hot conditions, Nicolas Lapierre made no attempt to hold off Alex Brundle (no.26), who took over as leader after half an hour of the race.
Gustavo Menezes replaced Nicolas Lapierre in the no.36. Car was racing on hard rubber, replacing the medium compound tyres used since the start.

Whilst running in third, Gustavo Menezes was shunted into a spin by Bruno Senna (no.43). Fortunately, the Signatech-Alpine car did not suffer any damage and was able to continue racing, whilst its title rival was handed a penalty.

Following Stéphane Richelmi's double stint, Nicolas Lapierre took over behind the wheel with 1 hr 30 mins to go. Unable to challenge for the race win, the Frenchman matched the pace of the no.43 car. He was cheered across the finishing line in fourth position by the entire team, gathered along the pit wall!

In four seasons, Alpine has quickly beaten a path to the top of the podium. This French success story shows the capacity of Alpine to take on challenges, both on the track and on the road. In a few months' time, the unveiling of a modern, elegant sports coupé built in France will be another important step in the renewal of the brand. Alpine is back… and this is just the start!

The season will draw to a close in two weeks' time at the 6 Hours of Bahrain (19 November).

Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director:
" We achieved our goal, with a superb finish to the race by Nicolas Lapierre, who showed our rivals that we were right there! The world title secured by Signatech-Alpine is the ultimate reward in a great human adventure that started in January 2013 when Alpine began competing in endurance racing.”

Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Principal:
"At the start of the season, we didn't dare dream about this title. This is an incredibly proud moment for our team. Red, white and blue blood runs through the veins of each of the mechanics, engineers and drivers of our A460!”  

Nicolas Lapierre:
"We knew what our objective was this weekend. After finishing all the races without having any mechanical issues or crashes, we were focusing on winning the title. The track was very demanding on the tyres and we were cautious in our choices. At the end of the race, I didn't try to get past the no.43, because I knew that fourth place was enough. I'm proud to win this world title for Alpine, after what has been an exceptional season!"

Stéphane Richelmi:
"This wasn't easiest race, but the main thing was to win the title for Alpine before Bahrain. Today, my stint followed Nicolas and Gustavo, who had driven on the hard tyres. I feel like I drove well, setting consistent times and making good progress in the traffic. We are going to keep working and we'll be determined to finish the year on a high note in Bahrain!"

Gustavo Menezes: 
"This is the greatest season of my career! We would have loved to do better today, but we had to focus on the bigger picture. We won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the LMP2 championship! Personally speaking, I'm also very proud to have won in Austin. The team did a fantastic job once again. Our tyre strategy wasn't ideal, but that's what we had to do in order to achieve our goal. Bruno Senna apologised after his little mistake. These things happen and there's no problem between us."

Check out the full press release here