Renault has raced for almost as long as the company has been alive.In 1902 a Renault Type K won its first victory in the Paris-to-Vienna road race, propelled by a four cylinder engine producing slightly more than 40 horsepower.
It beat the more powerful Mercedes and Panhard racers because they broke down, proving very early on that to finish first, first you have to finish. In the same year Renault patented the turbocharger, something it had not forgotten when in 1977 it was the first manufacturer to race a turbocharged Formula One car. The RS01 was initially nicknamed the ‘Yellow Teapot’ by amused rival teams, but intensive development eventually saw it scoring fourth place in the 1978 US Grand Prix, and a pole position the following year. Within three years of the Yellow Teapot’s arrival most rival teams were also using turbochargers.
Alpine relaunch to scale new heights
It’s 40 years since the Alpine A110 sports car won the Monte Carlo rally, and you can see one of these compact, low-slung and strikingly beautiful coupes on Renault’s main Goodwood stand. Renault is relaunching the famous marque with an ambitious programme that will see the launch of an all-new model co-developed with British sports car maker Caterham in 2016, as well as an exciting motorsport programme, kicking off this year, that includes contesting the Le Mans 24 hour race – which Alpine won outright in 1978 – and the European Le Mans (ELM) race series.
Alpine has contested the Le Man 24 hour race no less than 11 times between 1963 and 1978, fielding a total of 55 cars over the period with class wins and victories in the Energy Index and Performance Index categories on several occasions.
Alpine’s rebirth has already got off to an excellent start, an A110 winning the Monte Carlo Classic rally earlier this year. One of the five-car team was an A110 co-driven by Renault COO Carlos Tavares and Jean-Pascal Dauce.
For the return to Le Mans Alpine has joined forces with Signatech, which will enter an Alpine LMP2 chassis powered by a 500bhp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELM series.Renault