Earlier this week, DSC wrote about the differences in approach to the 2024 season of the two current LMDh WEC manufacturers, Porsche and Cadillac.
Interestingly, it’s a similar story for the two manufacturers that will bring brand new LMDh prototypes to the Hypercar network next year, with Alpine and Lamborghini having radically different experiences during their test programs.
Feedback from Alpine has been positive so far, as evidenced by testing of the ORECA-based A424 at Paul Ricard in September and last week in Aragon, as the Signatech operation ramps up for another top-class WEC attack.
The entire program appears to be operating within its original time frame. During the latest tests in Aragon, covering short and long runs, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre covered 1,500 kilometers over two days, with the team focusing on refining the car’s systems and aerodynamics.
“The tests went well,” said Philippe Sinault, team principal of Alpine Endurance. “The positive test results at Paul Ricard were confirmed at Motorland and the car continued to demonstrate sound behavior. This was a key stage of the program because, after completing the test tasks, we began to put together all the elements of the car: the hybrid system, the engine and the chassis.
“Matthieu and Nico completed a series of runs of over 1,500 km, sometimes even double runs, without any reliability problems, so it was quite satisfying and constructive. At this stage we could really start our operational role, with a particular focus on understanding the car and getting the settings right.
“The efficient functioning of the team was palpable on the human side, which really encouraged discussion about the great challenge ahead of us. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are on the right track.”
Another test in Jerez is scheduled for later this month, before the team moves on to endurance testing in Aragon in November.
The biggest unknown is the shape of the driver lineup. Nicolas Lapierre, Mathieu Vaxiviere and Charles Milesi have tested the A424 so far, but there are still gaps to fill ahead of the 2024 campaign.
Mick Schumacher, Pierre Gasly and Ferdinand Habsburg were among the drivers checked by various sales outlets in recent weeks. Gustavo Menezes, the former Le Mans and WEC title winner with the marque in LMP2, is also on the radar according to DSC since confirming his departure from Peugeot. However, it is known that Menezes is in negotiations with a number of Hypercar teams, but as of yet there is no agreed landing spot.
On the other hand, things have been relatively quiet on the Lamborghini Hypercar front since the SC63’s launch on a Ligier chassis at Goodwood in July and its first tests at Imola in August.
This is because the SC63 testing program was significantly disrupted by an accident at Paul Ricard in September, which left Mirko Bortolotti seriously injured at Turn 11.
The better news is that the testing program will resume shortly after the team took delivery of a replacement car over the past two weeks. However, program delays caused by the failure at Le Castellet may force the brand to miss its planned appearance at January’s Roar test at Daytona (in any case, the car was not scheduled to start in the IMSA season-opening race).
There is no news yet on whether the delay could also impact the team’s preparation for WEC Prologue testing and the season opener at Losail in Qatar in late February or early March.
There has also been no update on any plans or availability of the SC63 for customers, as was discussed during the embryonic phase of the program.
Photos courtesy of Lamborghini and Alpine
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