French ex Toyota factory LMP1 driver and four-time Le Mans winner in LMP2 Nico Lapierre will be joined by rapid countryman Matthieu Vaxiviere and Brazilian Andre Nergão aboard the #36 Signatech Alpine A480 Gibson in the top Hypercar class of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The move marks a return to Signatech Alpine for Lapierre for the first time since the end of the WEC ‘Super season’ after which he transferred to Cool Racing for dual WEC/ ELMS campaigns.
He will remain with Cool Racing for the 2021 season in the ELMS alongside his Alpine programme in WEC.
the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours will see Lapierre’s first start in the top class at Le Mans since 2017 when he returned to Toyota.
Vaxiviere meanwhile will be stepping up to the top class for the first time (as will Negrao). His record at Le Mans is of four starts, all in LMP2 with class podium finishes on his last two starts with TDS Racing in 2019 and Panis Racing in 2020.
Negrão meanwhile arrives in the top class after winning the LMP2 title with Signatech Alpine in the Super Season, a campaign that brought two Le Mans class wins in 2018 and 2019.
2021 will be his fifth consecutive year with the Signatech Alpine team.
Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine: “With our arrival in Formula 1 and our commitment to the premier category of the World Endurance Championship, the Alpine brand will benefit from unprecedented exposure thanks to motorsport.
“I trust Philippe Sinault for the choice of drivers he has operated because his experience and his track record in this discipline have proven their worth.
“I note that two of the three drivers selected have already shone the colours of Alpine at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and allowed our brand to obtain a second LMP2 championship title in 2019. I am sure they will be able to train with Matthieu Vaxiviere, a crew up to the expectations of enthusiasts of the Alpine brand around the world. ”
Philippe Sinault, Principal team of the Alpine Elf Matmut team: “Today we present a new trio of drivers up to the challenge that Alpine wishes to take up in the Hypercar category.
“Our choice fell on drivers who complement each other in terms of experience, and whose personality must guarantee a spirit of cohesion in all circumstances. If Nicolas and André know each other well and have demonstrated their ability to work together by favouring the team, the choice of Matthieu Vaxiviere was quickly established as his human qualities and his speed are recognized within the paddock.
“I can assure you that our 3 drivers are motivated as never before to make the Alpine colours shine from the first laps of the A480 in the FIA WEC Championship. ”
Nicolas Lapierre: “I am very happy that Alpine has decided to enter the premier category of the World Endurance Championship. It is a category that I know well having had 5 seasons fighting for overall podiums on circuits around the world.
“The Alpine team is without hesitation a family with which I have achieved my greatest success since the 2016 season in the World Endurance Championship, and I have no worries about the fact that Philippe Sinault and the members of his team will know how to prepare a car allowing us to play the leading roles in the first races of the season. ”
André Negrão: “After having won everything in the LMP2 category in recent years, it was logical that Alpine decided to take up the challenge of entering the premier class of the FIA WEC.
“I am proud and happy that Alpine has decided to trust me again to represent this brand that speaks to so many motorsport enthusiasts, especially in my country of Brazil where Alpine has successfully manufactured and marketed cars in the past.”
Matthew Vaxiviere: “I’m already looking forward to the first tests, to start working with my new teammates, the team and to discover the car. The reputation of Philippe Sinault’s men is well established and I am confident in their ability to provide exceptional work for the 2021 season. Riding for a brand like Alpine is an extraordinary source of motivation for me.”