WEC: Alpine announces full driver line-up for two car LMP2 effort

With its sights firmly set on its future in the premier Hypercar category, Alpine Elf Endurance Team reaffirms its passion for racing with two prototype entries in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023.
• The brand unveils its colors for its return to LMP2, celebrating its tenth anniversary since its comeback in Endurance and joining the festivities associated with the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary.
• Matthieu Vaxiviere will team up with Julien Canal and Charles Milesi in the n°36 Alpine A470 while André Negrão will team up with Memo Rojas and Olli Caldwell in the n°35 sister car.

Alpine’s contemporary endurance program was launched in 2013 and has enjoyed several successes with two European crowns, two world titles and three category wins at Le Mans. The A-arrowed brand has also excelled over the past two years with wins at Sebring and Monza in the FIA WEC, an outright podium in the twice-around-the-clock French classic and a runner-up spot in the premier class.

A season of transition

This season promises to be key for the team before it returns to the premier category of the World Endurance Championship in 2024. The year will be paced by the development of the new Alpine Hypercar prototype. Complying with the LMDh regulations, it will compete against the prestigious constructors who have taken up the challenge in a more competitive than ever elite field.

With competition in its DNA, Alpine will still be racing with the Signatech team under the Alpine Elf Endurance Team banner. For this transitional year, however, the team will be competing in the LMP2 category, where it has achieved some of its finest racing achievements over the past decade.

This change implies new challenges due to the different regulations. After contributing to the expansion of the brand’s list of victories between 2017 and 2020, the Alpine A470 came out of a “hibernation” of more than 800 days during pre-season testing last week in Portimão. The team also had to meticulously consider its new crews, with LMP2 requiring at least one Silver driver in each car.

An all-French trio in the #36

Matthieu Vaxiviere has been with Alpine since its debut in the premier category and will once again have the opportunity to showcase the full extent of his talent in the n°36 A470. The Frenchman has two LMP2 podiums at Le Mans to his name and will reunite with one of his former teammates, Julien Canal.

Hailing from Le Mans, Julien Canal won the international title in 2015 and 2017 and will be a welcome addition to the team after establishing himself as one of the fastest and most reliable Silvers on the grid, with three LMP2 podiums and three GT wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His perfect knowledge of the car and his relationship with Matthieu Vaxiviere, with whom he scored a podium finish in the LMP2 category in Daytona a fortnight ago, promise a particularly close-knit crew.

The line-up will be completed by one of the most promising drivers in the discipline with Charles Milesi. After starting in single-seater, he quickly confirmed all his potential by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 category and the world title in his first full campaign in endurance racing in 2021. Charles Milesi, who has transferred from another team Signatech operated in LMP2 last year, will be keen to win back the crown with Les Bleus.

Alpine #35, an international flavor

André Negrão has been a staunch member of the Signatech team, with whom he will start his sixth consecutive season, and he will also continue his adventure with Alpine to return to a category in which he won the world title in 2019 and two successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019.

The Brazilian will share the steering wheel with Memo Rojas, an extremely experienced driver in LMP2 with seven participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although this will be his first campaign in FIA WEC, the Mexican driver will contribute his valuable knowledge to the team as he has conquered numerous motorsport landmarks: Grand-Am, 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and two European Le Mans Series titles.

A young hopeful from the Alpine Academy, Olli Caldwell will join these two skilled team-mates. A winner in nearly all the levels he competed in single-seater racing, the Briton impressed the team during the rookie tests last November with his potential and philosophy, perfectly in sync with the values of Alpine, Signatech and the world of endurance racing. At just 20 years of age, Olli Caldwell now has the opportunity to prove himself in a prototype with two highly respected teammates.

Ambitious goals on all fronts

Working with the talented operations team led by Signatech, both crews will aim to win the LMP2 Endurance Trophy by giving their all at all seven championship rounds. The Alpine A470s will kick off their campaign at Sebring (USA) in the FIA WEC Prologue (11-12 March) before the opening race of the season at the same track on 17 March.

Alpine Elf Endurance Team spearhead, Nicolas Lapierre will focus at the same time on the development of the Alpine LMDh prototype, designed in collaboration with Oreca and the Viry-Châtillon-based Alpine Racing team.

2023 Calendar11-12 March: Prologue – Sebring (United States)
17 March: 1000 Miles of Sebring (United States)
16 April: 6 Hours of Portimão (Portugal)
29 April: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
10-11 June: 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
9 July: 6 Hours of Monza (Italy)
10 September: 6 Hours of Fuji (Japon)
4 November: 8 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)

–Alpine Racing team PR–