This surprise, emotional launch comes on the eve of the 83rd edition of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
The Le Mans 24 Hours regularly attracts more than 250,000 motoring and motor racing fans – sports car aficionados drawn from every corner of the globe – and is arguably the highest-profile event on the international motorsport calendar. It is a technological, human and sporting challenge that has been organised by the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) since 1923. The race is broadcast on television to more than 800 million viewers across some 190 countries, with three million visitors to the official website and many more still on social media.
That is why Alpine’s surprise unveiling needed to be worthy of the prestige of this event.
A compact sports car inspired by Alpine’s motorsport heritage, the Alpine Celebration takes the form of a two-seater coupé whose sleek, flowing lines are underlined by its deep blue colour scheme. This same blue – enhanced by hints of orange – also adorns the Alpine prototypes that made a triumphant return to endurance racing in 2013. It is a livery that harkens back to the Alpine models which played such a pivotal role in the brand’s original Le Mans adventure when, from 1963 to 1969, the M63, M64, M65, A210, A220 and even the A110 so valiantly upheld French honour in La Sarthe.
The Alpine Celebration faithfully replicates the timeless style of Alpines of old whilst adding a modern twist. Its low profile, sloping, creased bonnet, sculpted sides, distinctive rear window and other design details are all clear echoes of models like the A110 that have featured so prominently in Alpine’s glorious history.
With no need for gimmickry to stand out from the crowd, the beauty of the Alpine Celebration resides in its simplicity. Mindful of remaining elegant whilst at the same time responding to the need for frugality and efficiency, the Alpine Celebration show car reveals much about the brand’s heritage. If it retains a familiar style and set of values, it integrates them in a thoroughly modern manner. Carbon detailing is used to highlight the high-tech features of the car’s body, from its spoiler to the side sills, diffuser, rear air intakes and mirrors.
The positioning of the masked double headlamps and the central round lights barred by a black cross will remind fans of the adhesive strips that used to be found on the headlights of Alpine’s rally cars. It was formerly a means of holding the lenses together should they be broken.
The seemingly floating spoiler which frames the vehicle’s bold front end expresses strength, whilst the visual impression of poise and efficiency is enhanced by the straight, sharp lines of the side sills. The mirrors, meanwhile, incorporate a thin mirror that seems to be suspended free of its housing to heighten the dynamic, lightweight and aerodynamically efficient feel. The famous Alpine arrowed ‘A’ is visible on the air intake grille, sides, front wings and roof.
The design of the wheels recalls a style that was popular on the A110 and A310 models during the 1970s. They reveal the prominent brake discs and orange brake callipers. In the middle is a one-piece cast aluminium hub – another element that contributes to the overall styling.
The athletic rear integrates air intakes built into the rear quarter panels to contribute to engine cooling. The engine cover – which can be spied through the louvered motifs of the rear window – reveals the mid-rear positioning of the power plant.
Above the wheel arches, scoops guide airflow in a manner that is unmistakeably Alpine. The rear of the vehicle is characterised by an impressive diffuser that incorporates a central rear light, flanked by two brushed stainless steel exhaust tailpipes. The approach throughout is very clearly to highlight rather than conceal the car’s structural elements. The result suggests light weight, agility and rewarding performance.
That said, the true significance of the Alpine Celebration show car is to be found in its design – all flowing, sensual curves – which single-handedly symbolises the very essence of driving pleasure à la française.