Alpine gearing up to endurance racing WEC world tour

Signatech-Alpine has successfully completed the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship’s pre-season Prologue at Le Castellet, France.

The Alpine A450b posted the third-best lap time of the two-day test in the LM P2 class.The next outing for Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Vincent Capillaire will now be the opening round of the 2015 FIA WEC at Silverstone, England, on April 12.

After securing endurance racing success at European level in 2013 and 2014, Signatech-Alpine has its sights set on a fresh objective for 2015 when the Alpine A450b will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship, the highlight of which will be the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 13-14.

To prepare for its fast-looming world tour which will visit three continents, the team was at Le Castellet, France, for last weekend’s pre-season Prologue where around 30 cars gathered for the two-day test.

The event provided drivers Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and their new team-mate Vincent Capillaire with an opportunity to get in some valuable track time in the Alpine A450b.

In total, the five sessions totalled 17 hours – including a night-time run on Friday evening - which produced an early pecking order with just two weeks to go before competitive action begins at Silverstone, England. The Signatech-Alpine car completed almost 1,400km over the two days and ended up amongst the three fastest LM P2 runners, less than five-tenths of a second short of the class’s benchmark time.

Philippe Sinault (Team Principal Signatech-Alpine): “The Prologue was an important part of our build-up to the start of the season since it served as a sort of dress rehearsal. The Alpine A450b has only undergone detail changes for 2015. We consequently know it by heart and that’s a real asset with the world championship about to begin. The team has put in some good work over recent months and we are ready for the challenge that awaits us. We made good progress over the two days and we are particularly pleased with the ease with which Vincent Capillaire slotted in alongside Nelson Panciatici and Paul-Loup Chatin at the test. I believe we will be competitive at Silverstone.”

Nelson Panciatici: “We worked hard on tyre longevity. In the World Endurance Championship, it is important to take care with tyre wear so that you can run double stints. I felt really comfortable and I think our best lap time is a good pointer to our performance potential. With all the new cars, that’s a very promising sign. We’ll see how it sets us up for Silverstone.”

Paul-Loup Chatin: “We focused essentially on tyre durability testing. Traction has improved and I don’t think double-stinting will pose a problem. I feel good in the Alpine A450b and I think we will be competitive at Silverstone. We will do all we can to kick the year off with a strong result.”

Vincent Capillaire: “The two Prologue days were very positive, although I know there’s still a great deal of work to be done and, to be honest, I’m not at 100 percent yet. I need to improve my seating position in the Alpine A450b’s cockpit and adapt to the team’s settings. It was also my first time on Dunlop tyres. The gaps are very close in LM P2 and I’m convinced we have real potential. For Silverstone, we will have a competitive package with which the whole team is perfectly familiar.”

The 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship will kick off with free practice for the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 10. The race itself will start at midday, Sunday, April 12.

2015 FIA WEC calendar

April 12: 6 Hours of Silverstone (United Kingdom)May 2: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)June 13-14: Le Mans 24 Hours (France)August 30: 6 Hours of the Nürburgring (Germany)September 19: 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas (Texas, USA)October 11: 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)November 1:6 Hours of Shanghai (China)November 21: 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)

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