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Renault rolls out second Alpine concept

Non, monsieur: Renault’s pretty Alpine concept is not yet slated for production, according to the French company.

Le Mans the backdrop for new Alpine two-seater concept, but no production plans yet

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Renault logo15 Jun 2015

By TIM ROBSON

RENAULT has rolled out a second concept version of a two-seat sportscar destined to be built by its satellite performance-car brand Alpine in 2016.

The Alpine Celebration made its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and is, according to the company, a tribute to celebrate 60 years of the small French sportscar company.

While very little was revealed about the makeup of the Celebration, the mid-engined two-seater is no mere show-car pony, as it completed a lap of the 13.6km long Circuit de la Sarthe prior to the commencement of the 2015 24-hour classic.

Rolling on 20-inch centre-lock rims and sporting four-piston one-piece brake callipers and split-hat rotors front and rear, the well resolved Celebration coupe is fitted with vented Lexan side glass, a carbon-fibre rear wing and rear diffuser, as well as underside aero devices.

A broad dash is covered in Alcantara, while the instrument binnacle appears to be fitted with a head-up display. The Celebration is also fitted with motorsport-spec battery isolators and Aerocatch bonnet latches, while the doors are operated via solenoids.

Even though Renault has previously announced that a two-seat Alpine sportscar would debut in 2016, there was no indication that the mid-engined Alpine Celebration is indicative of the final production version.

While 2013’s Alpine A110 concept was powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine from a Formula Renault open-wheeler, a production version may be fitted by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that is currently fitted to the Renault Sport Megane range.

Renault is no stranger to the idea of a mid-engined production car it produced more than 5000 Renault 5 RS Turbos for rally homologation purposes from 1980 to 1984, and built the Clio V6 Renault Sport between 2001 and 2005.

The Celebration concept was conceived after Renault had combined with game maker Polyphony to create the virtual Alpine Vision Gran Turismo open-top two-seater. First realised as a full-size 3D model in January 2015, the Celebration was hand-built in time for the Le Mans event, and will head next to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“We envisaged the Alpine Celebration show car as the crowning glory of six decades of Alpine style and motor racing,” said Alpine design director Antony Villain. “We paid meticulous attention to every detail. This time, however, we wanted to go even further by reaching out to the hearts of a much broader audience.”

A revival of the Alpine brand has been in the mix for at least three years now.

A potential tie-up with sportscar makers Caterham was scotched in mid-2012, and appears to have stymied the progression of the project.

Renault’s relationship with Alpine goes back to the 1950s, when it sourced the French brand's engines to power its lightweight vehicles.

The rear-engined Alpine A110, known as the Berlinette and built between 1961 and 1977, was the brand’s most iconic model. Renault bought Alpine in 1973 and continued to make cars under the badge until 1995.

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