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Renault and Caterham split in Alpine project

Sports watch: The Renault Alpine A110-50 concept celebrates 50 years of the iconic Alpine A110 sportscar and may resemble Renault’s upcoming model.

Renault vows to proceed with Alpine sportscar despite parting ways with Caterham

12 Jun 2014

RENAULT has ended its joint venture with Caterham to revive the Alpine badge with a co-developed sportscar, but vows to push on with the project and produce the car on its own by 2016.

Renault said in a statement this week that it had bought the Caterham Group’s half share in ‘Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham’ which was set up in 2012 when the two companies formed a 50:50 joint venture to produce new sportscars and revive the historic Alpine brand.

The name has now been changed to ‘Société des Automobiles Alpine’.

Both Renault and Caterham have stated they will continue to develop their own sportscar separately.

The plan had been for the two companies to combine their skill and know-how to develop a sportscar platform which would underpin two models, each with unique styling.

It is understood that Renault is close to locking down the final design of its model, having been forced back to the drawing board after early attempts received a mixed response in customer clinics.

Caterham, meanwhile, has reportedly completed the design of its version, and will now push on using the vehicle architecture and other elements already developed under the partnership.

The deal for Renault has meant bringing back the historic Alpine nameplate.

Alpine began in the 1950s as a French racecar-maker that sourced its engines from Renault, and by the 1960s the brand had experienced considerable success in motorsport with lightweight vehicles.

The rear-engined Alpine A110 – also known as the Berlinette and built between 1961 and 1977 – was the manufacturer’s most iconic model due to its rallying success and good looks penned by designer Giovanni Michelotti.

By the mid-1970s Renault had bought the Alpine brand and produced the cars at the Alpine factory in Dieppe until 1995.

In 2012 Renault unveiled the Alpine A110-50 concept at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix to celebrate 50 years of the A110.

Some overseas reports suggest the new Renault Alpine may resemble the A110-50 when completed in 2016, but this remains to be seen.

Renault is also still to reveal details of the car’s powertrain, which could incorporate technology from alliance partner Nissan.

The Alpine brand returned to motorsport in 2013, winning the European Le Mans Series (LMP2 category). This weekend Alpine will be back at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the same category.

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