Alpine, the French sports car brand owned by Renault, is launching an assault on the American summits, starting with the most famous ascent across the Atlantic: Pikes Peak. The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak is a specially modified version of the Alpine A110, a lightweight, mid-engined coupe that has won rave reviews in Europe for its agile handling and retro styling.
The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak will compete in the Time Attack 1 category of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This legendary race challenges drivers to climb 12.4 miles of twisting road with 156 turns and an elevation gain of 4,720 feet.
The race dates back to 1916 and is known as "The Race to the Clouds" because it ends at the summit of Pikes Peak, a 14,115-foot mountain in Colorado. The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak will be driven by French rally driver Romain Dumas, who has won the race four times and holds the record for the fastest electric car at Pikes Peak.
Dumas is also an Alpine ambassador and a brand fan, having owned several Alpine models in his personal collection.
"I'm very happy and proud to be driving the Alpine A110 Pikes Peak," Dumas said in a statement. "It's a car that I really like and that I've been driving since it was launched. I think it has a lot of potential for this kind of challenge."
The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak is not a stock car, however. It has been extensively modified by Signatech, a motorsport partner of Alpine, to cope with the demands of the race. The car has been fitted with a larger turbocharger, a new exhaust system, a bigger fuel tank, and a more powerful braking system. It also has a wider track, larger wheels, a lower ride height, and a massive rear wing to improve aerodynamics and grip.
The car weighs just 2,425 pounds, which is about 440 pounds lighter than the standard Alpine A110. The engine output is estimated at around 400 horsepower, more than double the power of the regular Alpine A110. The car will also run on bioethanol fuel, which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 85% compared to gasoline.
The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak is not just a one-off project for Alpine. It is part of a broader strategy to expand its presence in North America and other markets outside Europe. Alpine has recently announced that it will enter Formula One as a constructor in 2023, replacing Renault as its parent company's flagship racing team.
Alpine will also launch a new electric sports car in partnership with Lotus, another iconic British brand specializing in lightweight performance vehicles. The new electric sports car will be based on a common platform developed by Renault and Lotus and will be built at Alpine's factory in Dieppe, France. The Alpine A290 electric sports car is expected to cost around $120,000 and will compete with models like the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S.
Alpine hopes these initiatives will boost its brand awareness and appeal among American customers, who have yet to see an Alpine model on their roads since the 1980s.
The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak is a bold statement of Alpine's ambition and confidence. It is also a tribute to its heritage and history, as Alpine has previously won several prestigious races, including the Monte Carlo Rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place on June 25th, 2023. It will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and streamed online on Peacock.
Alpine fans and enthusiasts will be able to follow the progress of the Alpine A110 Pikes Peak on social media and on Alpine's official website.
Will the Alpine A110 Pikes Peak conquer America's toughest hill climb? We'll find out soon enough.