Alpine has "no reason to be disappointed" with Le Mans podium

Alpine WEC principal Philippe Sinault said his Hypercar team has "no reason to be disappointed" after finishing last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours in third behind both Toyotas.

Listen to this article

Alpine, which entered a Signatech-run grandfathered LMP1 car against Toyota's all-new Hypercars, was quick in spells but proved no match against the might of Toyota, which took a fourth consecutive win on Sunday.

However, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao comfortably defeated the remaining Hypercar opposition from Glickenhaus to take a first French overall podium since Peugeot in 2011.

At a wet start, Lapierre spun out at Indianapolis, which dropped the Frenchman down to 17th. But soon enough he and teammates recovered to third as the track dried up, a position they held into the evening.

Before midnight, Vaxiviere then lost four minutes by going off the track at the first Mulsanne chicane, which dropped it behind the #708 Glickenhaus, but on Sunday morning the trio sealed a podium finish four laps behind the winning #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

Realising in advance the team would "need a perfect race" to have a chance of beating Toyota, Alpine and Signatech team boss Sinault admitted his outfit had "no reason to be disappointed" with the result.

"As I stood in blue on the podium, I realised that this is such a great story," he said.

"While victory would have been fantastic to reinforce the legend of Alpine and Le Mans, we have no reason to be disappointed.

"It is an excellent result, achieved after an extremely difficult and tricky race.

"We are a small team with only one car. We can't afford to make any mistakes and we came very close to throwing it all away during the night.

"We quickly realised that we could not match the level of performance of the winners and we focused all of our attention on this important podium for all the people who support us."

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid Hypercar, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley, #36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson Hypercar, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid Hypercar, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley, #36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson Hypercar, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

Photo by: Paul Foster

Alpine's 37-year-old ace Lapierre, who previously finished third overall in 2014 with Toyota and has four wins in LMP2 to his name - three with Signatech Alpine - conceded there was not much more his team could have done.

"Obviously, we expected [to finish] a bit higher but to be honest there's not much more we could have done," he said. "Toyota was just stronger than us. We have to accept it, we will work harder to come back stronger.

"But for sure third position, for the first time we are entering in the hypercar category, it's pretty amazing. It was a faultless race from the whole team, so we can be proud of it."

shares
comments

Related video

Porsche "expected to be closer" in Le Mans GTE Pro fight
Previous article

Porsche "expected to be closer" in Le Mans GTE Pro fight

Next article

Ford v Ferrari revisited – separating Le Mans '66 fact from movie fiction

Ford v Ferrari revisited – separating Le Mans '66 fact from movie fiction
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Prime

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

As the GT class faces a time of transition, it’s a good time to recall the greatest hits of the GTE Pro years that pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels.

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Prime

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Prime

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic.

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022