The French manufacturer wants to show Americans what it can do ahead of a rumored launch of its tiny sports car.
Alpine will whet America's appetite for its wares when it enters the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later this year. The brand sent out a teaser image and official confirmation that it will enter the race to the clouds in what appears to be yet another indication that the French brand intends to hit the American market hard.
Alpine will not be entering a standard production vehicle but rather what it's calling the A110 GT4 Evo. The Evo is based on the A110 GT4 racing car, which is an evolution of the A110 Cup. Like McLaren, Alpine has an entire department that builds racing cars for gentleman racers. The A110 GT4 is the poor man's McLaren 720S GT3 and is homologated for all GT4 events.
Mechanically, the car uses the same mid-mounted 1.8-liter turbocharged four-pot, but the power output is increased to 355 horsepower.
The brakes are also upgraded, with a Bosch Motorsport ABS system keeping them from locking up. A 25-gallon FIA homologated fuel tank keeps the motor fueled without catching alight spontaneously. The total mass, including fluids but not the driver, comes to 2,381 pounds. It's a track-ready tool that weighs less than a Mazda Miata.
According to Alpine, it has made the necessary adjustments to compensate for the air pressure changes at the altitudes encountered along the hill climb. Even forced induction cars struggle to get enough air into the combustion chamber during the 4,700-foot elevation change. That's why EVs have become so popular at the famous event.
While we may not know what's going on under the hood, it's clear from the teaser image that Alpine is making serious aerodynamic changes. The French brand worked with Signatech engineers and technicians to create an aerodynamic setup specifically for Pikes Peak.
There's an excellent reason for this. Alpine chose to enter the A110 GT4 Evo in the Time Attack 1 category, where it will compete against multiple four-wheel-drive vehicles. Alpine could have gone for the Unlimited class, but it wants to show Americans what its mid-engine rear-wheel-drive mini supercar can do.
The A110 will be piloted by Raphael Astier, who has been to Pikes Peak four times before. Astier holds the record in Time Attack 1 with a time of 9:23.721 set in a BBI Porsche 911. BBI is also responsible for the Hoonipigasus, which we also hope to see return despite Ken Block's untimely passing.
"I am extremely proud to be the driver chosen for this program, and I look forward to bringing all my experience and knowledge to the brand's first-ever Pikes Peak participation," said Astier. "While winning the overall classification is not the target, I am confident our A110 GT4 Evo will perform well in its class, and I can't wait to see what we can achieve in this first attempt."
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