Long rumored and now confirmed, Mercedes F1 Reserve driver, Mick Schumacher, will drive for Alpine in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As Alpine actively continues to prepare its A424 hypercar, the team today confirmed the six drivers who will be behind the wheel of its two World Endurance Championship cars in Qatar for the start of the 2024 season. It is a driver line-up combining experience and speed that joins the Alpine hypercar adventure.
Bruno Famin, VP Alpine Motorsports: “At this decisive phase for the A424 programme, we are proud to reveal the six drivers who will race for us in the Hypercar category in 2024. With Philippe Sinault, we wanted drivers who are not only fast and reliable, but also showing a real team spirit and good racing acumen to best represent the Alpine colors in the premier category of the World Endurance Championship. We are absolutely delighted to have these six drivers and we hope they will all bring their own experience and qualities to the project, for example Charles with his youth, Nicolas with his experience in Endurance to mentor the younger drivers, and also Mick, with his experience gained at the highest level. It might be his first foray into Endurance, but his enthusiasm for the project and his will to join us are palpable. I’m sure he will be a real asset.”
Mick Schumacher is confirmed for the 2024 season at Alpine and keeps charting his own course in motor racing. A winner in F4, he won the 2018 European F3 title before winning the Formula 2 championship two years later. Promoted to F1, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher raced for the Haas F1 Team in 2021 and 2022 before moving to Mercedes as a reserve driver.
Last October, Mick drove an endurance prototype for the first time. Working with the Alpine team, the German driver learned the subtleties of this new machine under the watchful eye of his future teammates. Following this promising first foray, Alpine and Mick Schumacher decided to take up the challenge together in 2024 in the premier class of endurance racing, amongst the most renowned drivers in the discipline.
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Mick Schumacher : “A new chapter is beginning for me with Alpine in the FIA WEC Hypercar category. The car is impressive, and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve grown up with single-seaters, so driving a car with a closed cockpit and covered wheels is a great opportunity to hone my driving skills. I sorely missed racing this year; it’s what I’ve loved to do since I was a kid, and it was sometimes difficult to watch the other drivers take to the track. Endurance racing is a new challenge for me, and I’m sure we will share great moments together next year with Alpine.”
Nicolas Lapierre has contributed to some of the most memorable moments in Alpine’s Endurance history, with three 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins with Alpine and two world titles in the LMP2 category. As a development driver for the A424, he has been part of the adventure since the inception of the Hypercar project and has had his spot confirmed in the team for 2024. Nicolas Lapierre is an experienced driver and will continue to provide all his expertise, confidence and composure to unite this new driver line-up.
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Nicolas Lapierre : “It’s an ambitious project, and I was quite proud when offered the chance to develop the car. I’m particularly fond of the team. We have enjoyed success, and to return to the Hypercar programme is a superb opportunity. We’re facing a new era in endurance racing, with a field more competitive than ever. And to continue to contribute to Alpine’s history and go head-to-head with some of the biggest names in motor racing is exciting. We will represent Les Bleus and can’t wait to see the fans at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the other races in the championship.”
Matthieu started his career in Mitjet and single-seaters but began racing for Alpine in endurance racing in 2021 and finished runner-up in the 2022 FIA Endurance World Championship season. He has contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times, scoring one podium in Hypercar and two in LMP2. He has an impressive track record, particularly in the European Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Daytona. After three seasons with Alpine in the Hypercar category and then LMP2, the Frenchman from Limoges will continue to fight for Les Bleus from 2024 onwards in a exceptionally competitive field.
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Matthieu Vaxiviere : “Racing a Hypercar with Alpine in 2024 is an accomplishment for me. All the energy and effort I’ve put in throughout my career has been directed towards this goal of competing in endurance racing’s premier category. It’s a continuation of the years I’ve spent with the team, and participating in the car’s development has also allowed me to share this new ambition with them. To compete against the biggest manufacturers is amazing and I’m proud to be part of this team.”
In just a few years, 22-year-old Charles Milesi has established himself as one of endurance racing’s brightest prospects. After a remarkable debut in single-seaters, the Frenchman took up the challenge of LMP2 in 2021, where he demonstrated the extent of his talent by winning the world title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his first season. After a campaign with the Signatech-operated Richard Mille Racing Team, Charles finished fourth in the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and scored another FIA WEC podium with Alpine in 2023.
Alpine Endurance Team reaffirms its confidence in Charles and confirms its ambition to work with one of the fastest drivers on the grid as part of the brand’s new challenge.
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Charles Milesi : “I’m delighted to continue this adventure in the Alpine family for another year in 2024, this time in a Hypercar. It’s a challenge for everyone with a new car and a team that’s getting stronger, both in terms of the drivers and on the technical side. I was lucky enough to be involved in the car’s development, and it has been hugely rewarding to see the project evolve up close. There’s still work to do, but we’ve made good progress and are on the right track. Everyone looks forward to the first race in Qatar and, more importantly, to seeing the Alpine hypercar on the grid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Ferdinand Habsburg is a welcome new face to the brand and will join the Alpine Hypercar programme from 2024. His talent and achievements in the various categories and championships he has contested in recent years attracted Alpine’s attention for its new Endurance project.
In 2021, the Austrian won the title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2 with Charles Milesi and Robin Frijns in his maiden season in the FIA WEC. He subsequently confirmed his talent by winning the European title the following year while continuing to score solid results wherever he raced. After a convincing 2023 season in LMP2, he got behind the wheel of the Alpine A424 during testing at Motorland to accumulate mileage and familiarise himself with the car and the team.
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Ferdinand Habsburg : “I’m thrilled to take on this challenge with Alpine. No question, it’s a step up from anything I’ve experienced in my motor racing career. From the day I signed with Alpine, I realised that my childhood dream had come true. I immediately felt part of the team at Motorland, although the pressure was palpable for me. Beginning with an endurance format during testing can be difficult to get used to with a new environment, but I felt confident straight away. I can’t wait to see what the 2024 season has in store for us, and I’ll give it my all so as not to betray their confidence.”
Paul-Loup Chatin, who began in single-seaters, enjoyed immediate success in endurance racing in 2013. The following year, he won the European title with Signatech Alpine and received the Prix Jean Rondeau rewarding the best French prospect following his LMP2 podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He then helped the French brand move up to the FIA WEC before taking on new challenges. H won his second European Le Mans Series title in 2019, then the Daytona 24 Hours in 2021, and the IMSA LMP2 category in 2023. It was only natural that Alpine should include this talented driver in its line-up.
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Paul-Loup Chatin: “I am so pleased to rejoin Alpine in Hypercar for the 2024 season. I started my endurance career with Signatech Alpine in 2014, and it’s a team I’ve always followed. As a Frenchman, representing a French manufacturer at the highest level of world motorsport is a privilege, especially at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the biggest motor race in the world. It’s why I get up every morning. I sincerely thank the Alpine team for giving me this opportunity, and I can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Philippe Sinault, Team Manager: “The first word that comes to mind is ‘pride’. I think we made the right choices and I have confidence in this team, which is ideal for us for Alpine in Hypercar. There is an interesting balance between long-time, federative, well-known drivers to the team and new faces who have surprised us in recent years. As a French team, we are also particularly excited to have four French drivers in the team. There are less than 100 days until the first race of the 2024 season. Testing is almost over, and the team is now complete: we can’t wait to see our beautiful A424s driven by these drivers.”
October 23, 2023
(GMM) Mick Schumacher says he is hoping his WEC Le Mans plans for 2024 lead to a ride in the 24 Hour classic.
The axed Haas driver, currently Mercedes’ F1 reserve, had hoped to return to the grid next year – but as the vacant cockpits all filled up, he turned his attention to Le Mans-style racing.
Last week, before travelling to Austin to serve as back-up to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, 24-year-old Schumacher was at Jerez in Spain for a test, getting his first taste of Alpine’s new world endurance championship prototype for 2024.
“It’s a completely different feeling,” said the German, who is only used to driving single-seaters.
“The car is quite big, quite heavy,” he told Sky Deutschland at the US GP. “The cockpit is completely closed, which felt a bit claustrophobic at first.
“You don’t see whether the tires are moving or not, so you have little lights to show that, but nothing else. It was a bit abstract to sit there and not feel the wind, but the biggest change for me was the draft from behind – the cooling system that blows air in and I wasn’t really prepared for that at the beginning.
“But I got used to it all relatively quickly,” said Schumacher.
As for how he performed, Schumacher said it’s too early to tell.
“Our setup wasn’t optimal,” he explained. “We had the Le Mans setup on a higher downforce track, which is why it felt slow and very sluggish. But of course that also comes from the 1000kg weight.
“You also have traction control, which is a completely different driving experience.
“In terms of racing,” Mick continued, “it would be a little different because you share the car. That’s exciting in a way. “The car has to last 24 hours. It’s a different challenge.”
The only remaining question is whether Schumacher and Alpine will sign a contract – and it appears to hinge on whether the Renault-owned marque would allow him to hang onto his role as Mercedes’ reserve driver.
“We’re in Austin now,” Schumacher said when asked about a contract. “The focus is on that.
“When we leave here, we’ll look at everything again and then hopefully have a few options.”