Bruno Famin, executive director of Alpine Racing, has revealed that taking the 1.6-litre F1 V6 as the starting point for the LMDh hybrid’s internal combustion engine “was never considered” for reasons of cost and of complexity.
He explained that Alpine could have met the mileage and horsepower requirements for LMDh to be raced by the Signatech team with a unit developed from the F1 V6.
“The mileage is more or less the same: with the rule of having three engines for one season in F1, it would have been good,” said Famin, who was technical director of the Peugeot 908 LMP1 turbodiesel project in 2007-11, at Motorsport. com.
“But we can find the 500Kw-plus [the 670bhp target power output for LMDh] in a much easier and much cheaper way, much easier in terms of design and maintenance as well.
Famin also revealed that the Renault brand, which announced its program in October 2021, was already using the LMDh engine on the test bench at its Viry-Châtillon plant in Paris.
“The concept was finalized quite a while ago and we are already testing and developing,” he said.
“He’s been on the bench for a while now: we’re pretty happy because he’s developing quite well.”
#36 Alpine Elf Team Alpine A480 – Gibson LMP1: André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport pictures
But Famin won’t reveal any technical details of the engine, or whether it’s a bespoke race unit or based on a production powertrain.
Nor would he say when the marque plans to be on track with the LMDh developed in conjunction with French manufacturer Oreca, which has also developed the grandfathered LMP1 A480 design that Alpine has raced for the past two seasons in the WEC Hypercar category with Signatech.
“At the moment we are not giving too much information on this, but our aim is to get the car out on track as soon as possible to do enough testing before the start of the 2024 season,” he said. declared.
He suggested having a running car in the hands of Signatech in some time, as Oreca only worked on the Alpine project in earnest after putting the Acura ARX-06 LMDh into service this summer.
“Oreca failed to manage two [design] programs together and they just finished the Acura,” he said.
“Now we’re working really hard together to develop the car, but of course we need a few months before we get it out on the track.
“We are progressing well according to the project schedule, everything is moving.”
Famin explained that Oreca’s ability factored into Alpine’s decision to make its LMDh debut in 2024 rather than 23, the category’s first season.
Alpine boss Laurent Rossi has previously suggested the brand could put the resources of the Enstone-based F1 team into play in developing the LMDh, but Famin played it down.
“The LMDh regulations are not very ambitious in terms of aero performance, so you don’t need the latest cutting-edge aero technology,” he explained.
“I think the added value we can bring will be in the development of the powertrain, the energy management and the impact of the hybrid system on the dynamics of the car.
“It’s know-how that we have in our factory in Viry, but if we need more, why not use the facilities in Enstone?”
Famin has confirmed that the Alpine LMDh will be homologated by both the FIA for the WEC and the IMSA for its North American series.
He explained that this would open up the possibility for customers to race the car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“We will be happy to sell cars, and if we have a customer team in the United States, we will be very happy with that,” he said.