How Alpine hopes to be the “Tesla of Europe”, thanks in part to sim racing

The current Alpine Esports Series is more than a sim racing competition, it is preparing Alpine for the future of its automotive business.

Although Alpine has only been on the market in its current form for six years, its history oozes with victories. You could say that winning is the heart and soul of the brand.

When you think of Alpine, visions of a classic A110 surrounded by the snow-capped shores of Monte Carlo automatically spring to mind. In fact, those beautiful white-capped Alps are the reason for the brand’s name and essentially the same inspiration behind the impeccable looks of the sports cars that many of us admire as champion quality.

The first A110 Rallye Monte Carlo was the First of its kind in 1971. French engineering proved first class and Alpine was crowned King of the World Rally Championship at the inaugural 1973 event.

Five years later, the King of the Alps turned another great lap of honor by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1973 World Rally Championship, Monte Carlo Rally, Jean-Claude Andruet, Alpine-Renault A110 - LAT, Motorsport Images
1973 World Rally Championship, Monte Carlo Rally, Jean-Claude Andruet, Alpine-Renault A110 – LAT, motorsport images

However, like a nice ski trip in Courchevel, everyone needs a little downtime to rejuvenate and get back into championship shape.

And Alpine did just that.

By partnering with Renault at the end of 2012, the brand restarted and even returned to circuit racing the following year with an LMP2 prototype.

Just like cycling, sportscars returned to their victories in 2013 and 2014 with back-to-back Le Mans Series championships. In 2016 and 2019 the LMP2 secured podiums in the WEC, securing crucial class victories at Le Mans in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In 2021 it has also taken over the reins of the existing Renault Formula 1 team.

#36 Alpine ELF Team Alpine A480 – Gibson Hypercar driven by André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere, 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours – Motorsport Images
#36 Alpine ELF Team Alpine A480 – Gibson Hypercar driven by André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere, 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours – Motorsport Images

While triumph is clearly in their DNA, Alpine keeps winning beyond the grid, to.

The brand’s commitment to esports – sim racing in particular – has taken the iconic sports brand to a new level of endurance…metaphorically speaking, that is. Alpine is something of the survivor of the sports car industry.

It outsmarts, outstrips and outlasts the competition simply by recognizing how important eSports is to its brand’s future. A quick look at their website reveals a section entirely dedicated to Alpine Esports, set up in 2021 to “bridge the gap between reality and virtual”.

The goal of the program is simple: assemble a team of legendary sim racers, train them in their peerless gaming house and compete in the world’s top virtual events, including the F1 Esports Series and the Le Mans Virtual Series.

List of participants of the Alpine Esports Series 2022

And if that wasn’t enough, they even hold their own competition. That Alpine Esports Series.

“Because it’s Alpine, you know [a] really, really famous car manufacturer, the opportunity to do a GT4 test… that’s why I went. Because it was believable,” said Alpine Esports Series Director James Baldwin, a real-life British GT race winner, on the Traxion.GG podcast when discussing how the automotive industry is conscious of the value of esports for the next generation of drivers .

“I think it’s pretty important that big automakers and companies get involved in esports, really for everyone involved.”

The winner of the Alpine Esports Series will also be offered a prize drive in a shiny real sports car. All of this ties in with the existing road car choice, which currently produces just one sports car, the A110, a modern interpretation of this Monte Carlo Rally-winning machine.

Alpine A110 Tour de Corse 75

An incredibly smart move considering the brand is poised to become the “Tesla of Europe,” says Alpine’s Head of Partnerships and Esports, Guillaume Vergnas.

“The aim is to drive fully electrically. All-electric sports cars… new models to come [the] Market until 2024/2025/2026.

“If you go to the Alpine Cars website, there is the street car part, the Formula 1 team part and then the esports part. So it is a full pillar of our strategy.

“It’s the kind of positioning that helps us move forward. We have to target an audience that can buy these types of cars, but also a younger audience, because at the moment that’s who we are [mainly] is aimed at an older audience.”

Alpine A110 2022 range

With a manufacturing base in Dieppe, at the very top of France, the brand could expand into more esports territories outside of F1 and Le Mans, assuming the road car business expands as well in the near future.

“I’m counting on the next generation of [road] cars then we can organize more on the sim racing page. So we represent more or less all activities of the [real-world] Team in the virtual sense, explained Vergnas.

Alpine’s efforts to appeal to a younger audience through sim racing will ensure the brand remains relevant for years to come as the automotive industry undergoes a giant electrification shift.

By offering an all-electric sports car and consistent engagement in e-sports, the next generation of drivers can enjoy the historic marque virtually – and soon in the real world.

For the full rundown of everything Alpine, tune in to our latest Traxion.GG podcast starring James Baldwin and Guillaume Vergnas, available on YouTube and your favorite streaming platform!

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