The organisers assume it’s too completely French, however I rather likable the vibration of the Alpine apothecium, a one-make race series for Alpine A110s. It turns a bit little bit of no matter race circuit it visits into a locality of France. By the top of a weekend at Silverstone, I’d remembered the way to shrug abjectly and say “j’ai fini douzième” in a very convincing accent. much a native.
Maybe this is often however it feels to be French throughout LE Mans, solely with no one throwing a bottle of piss into a passing TVR as a result of its driver wouldn’t do a burn-out.But the organisers of this pan-European race series would really like a lot of entrants from completely different elements of Europe. A British team, a German or a Spanish or Italian team, perhaps, to match the very fact that, of the six places the series goes, there square measure rounds in European nation, Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland together with 2 in France. At the instant, all eighteen cars on the grid square measure entered by French groups and square measure driven principally by French drivers. There’s one Swiss and one Belgian and frequently a employed unwelcome person World Health Organization, on this occasion, is me.The cars square measure the A110s that we all know and love, however a lot of racy. whereas ‘my’ automotive is informed its air jacks with its wheels off, I raise the series’ technical director what square measure the variations in suspension between a road automotive and a car. It’s easier to mention the items that square measure identical, he tells me: it’s the uprights and also the wishbones.
With solely a number of changes, the race A110 – stanced, isn’t it? – is acceptable become a GT4 race series automotive, too. The A110 makes a remarkable GT4 endurance racer, with its little engine and little cortical region which means it’s down on power however way more aerodynamically economical than the supercars it competes against, therefore it’s as shut as you’ll get to a classic series wherever Minis defy Ford Galaxies.
The variations between the 2 race series specifications square measure sufficiently small that you just may swap identical Alpine back and forth between the Alpine Cup and a GT4, however no one does: i suppose GT4 would desire successive maximize.So this race ought to be a cinch, I’m semiconductor diode to believe. simply a bunch of previous made blokes nobbing concerning in a very automotive they can’t drive fine on a circuit they’ve ne’er been to.
Hmm. No. because it seems, of the eighteen drivers, there square measure a number of young hot-shoes World Health Organization wish to create it as GT drivers and a few older blokes World Health Organization wont to race within the Renault Muse Cup – the type of madcap series that births auto drivers. Laurent Hurgon, the Renault Sport engineer World Health Organization sets all of the Nürburgring lap times in hot RS models, is competitory within the series however by no suggests that a bonded top-six finisher.
Plus this ton apprehend the cars. And they’ve been to Silverstone before. and that i don’t speak various French, the team don’t speak various English, therefore once setting it up, we’re simply winging it. And one amongst my team-mates desires the limited-slip differential out of my automotive between races as a result of it’s a lot of aggressive than the one in his; that is honest enough, as a result of he’s paying to be there and that i get to examine however this changes the handling.Anyway, that’s the reasons principally out of the approach for 2 races – one Sabbatum, one Sunday – that every last twenty five minutes and a lap and have a rolling begin.
Silverstone may be a huge circuit however once your last race here was in a very Citroën C1, it feels shorter than traditional. The race A110, with 266bhp and at 1135kg, may be a nice appropriate it on Michelin slicks that offer a reasonably mega quantity of lateral grip. Those, and a correct serial casing in situ of the road car’s dual-clutch, and all of the protection accoutrements, mean the A110 appears like a terrific car. however there square measure parts of the road car’s character intact. It’s terribly agile, happy to maneuver around as you carry and turn-in, tho’ attributable to the limited-slip differential that’s absent from the road automotive, it hooks up beneath acceleration a lot of simply – albeit with a lot of grip and traction than power currently, with heavier steering that has baggage of feel. With a less aggressive differential, there’s less initial hook-up beneath acceleration and a a lot of drooping swing into oversteer later.
With all cars creating identical power and having identical aeromechanics, passing is tough, therefore there looks to be the time-honoured Muse Cup passing technique of protrusive your automotive within the approach of someone else’s and property them avoid you.
Getting to grips with it, I end twelfth out of eighteen in race one and thirteenth in race 2 with all body panels intact, which, at £90,000 for the automotive and another £90k around to race it for a year, is simply still. If I had the time, I’d be back.Race-spec Alpine A110s get a fairly thorough going over. The engine is internally identical because the road car’s one.8-litre four-cylinder turbo however a replacement intake and exhaust carry its power by 18bhp. a lot of significantly, the rear subframe is re-fabricated to accommodate a firewall between the cabin and also the engine bay, to brace the world and to permit furniture of the serial race box and gas shifter. At the front there’s a replacement fuel tank, whereas all around the custom suspension with adjustable springs and dampers drops the car’s overall height by 62mm. Stripped within, the cars may weigh as very little as 1050kg, however the minimum race weight is 1125kg (the road automotive is 1098kg at its lightest).