Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Test Day full of lessons for Signatech Alpine Matmut

  • The Signatech Alpine Matmut team concluded the 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day with the third best time in LMP2.
  • Focused on discovering the Michelin tyres on the Circuit de la Sarthe and looking for the perfect setups, Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet completed 71 laps.
  • The FIA WEC LMP2 leading trio will be back on track on Wednesday June 12 for the first free-practice and qualifying sessions.

In warm and sunny conditions, the field had two four-hour sessions to begin their preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15-16.

After observation runs from André Negrão and Nicolas Lapierre in the opening hour, Pierre Thiriet took over to gather valuable data. Nicolas Lapierre went back behind the wheel before his programme was cut-short due to an alert concerning the gearbox.

The problem was quickly identified and remedied. The Alpine A470 was back on track in the afternoon in the hands of André Negrão. The Brazilian put in a long stint focused on the overall balance of the car and Michelin tyres assessments in conditions in excess of 30°C before handing over to his team mates to continue the job at hand and lead the way during more than one hour.

In the final hour, Nicolas Lapierre went out in search of a competitive time. His penultimate effort saw him set the best time for the team in 3:28.997s to finish with the third best time in the LMP2 category.

The next rendezvous for the Signatech Alpine Matmut team will be the administrative and technical checks known as Scrutineering at the Place de la République in Le Mans. The n°36 Alpine A470 and its drivers will be convoked on Monday June 10 at 4pm before aiming for a third Le Mans win in four years.


Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut: "Sunday went very well despite a minor gearbox alert late in the morning session, but that's also what this kind of day is for. We were able to complete the programme that we set for ourselves in putting in long runs with the two Michelin compounds. We have noticed some handling differences, but we are very satisfied with what we have at our disposal. We were able to learn several lessons for next week. As we always do, we looked for more performance in the final minutes and the result is very positive in this respect as we set the third best time with the fastest second and third sectors. Our lap time was not the most important subject of the day because of the traffic, but this confirms that the car is well-balanced and that the drivers are comfortable. We now have to continue in this direction to be ready when the action returns on next Wednesday."

Nicolas Lapierre: "This Test Day was an opportunity to understand the new Michelin tyres on this track. It was a positive day and we were able to complete our test programme despite a small mechanical setback that cost us a bit of time in the morning. Although we do not know how representative the conditions were, it was good to run in a bit of extreme temperatures, because I do not think it could get hotter during the race week. So it was a good preparation for a season finale that promises to be magnificent and that will go right down to the wire."

André Negrão: "We learned a lot during this very hot Sunday. The Alpine A470 felt great and I think that the team, Nicolas, Pierre and I are all very pleased with the potential of the car and the Michelin tyres. I didn't run very much in the morning, but we got back on schedule in the afternoon as the times were not necessarily our goal as it is almost impossible to get a clear lap at Le Mans. We will now analyse al the data from this day to be ready this decisive week that we are all impatiently waiting for."

Pierre Thiriet: "The challenge was to regain our reference points as a team and as drivers while preparing for the race. I was able to complete some rather long stints, similar to those that I will do in the 24 Hours. It was thus a very important and interesting day that allowed us to validate some key aspects, especially the tyres and aerodynamics. Our goal was to have both a good baseline without necessarily going for a quick time and that's exactly what we found to start the first free practice in the best conditions."

Source: Alpine Cars