Insight: How Do You Design a LMDh Car?
Sportscar365 speaks with Alpine’s lead designer on the challenges of designing the A424...
What goes into designing a Le Mans race car? There’s styling cues, practical concerns, brand elements and much more that all needs to be considered. A car’s design needs to convey the brand’s identity and be instantly recognizable, even if it thunders past a grandstand at high speeds, but also needs to be practical for the team to operate.
To find out what it takes to design a car that’s set to battle for overall victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sportscar365 sat down with Alpine Design director Antony Villain to talk about some of the challenges involved in the design process for the ORECA-chassised Alpine A424.
Villain explained that the A424, which will debut at the Qatar 1812km in March, was designed simultaneously to Alpine’s radical Alpenglow concept car (the design process for both cars began on the same day) and thus takes a lot of inspiration from it. But Villain has also worked to incorporate links to the brand’s road car products in the prototype racing car.
“For instance, the light signature of the Alpine on the A110, the four rings,” he says. “We have four rings at the front. We have four [lights] in the Berlinette from the ‘60s. So, we wanted to play with these four graphics. I say graphics because on the A110 it's round, but here it's straight line. Because we used some modules. From very far you see four spots. The four eyes. It's a detail, but it's identical.”
Those additional lights, Villain says, don’t just deliver a nice bit of brand recognition, but also serve a practical purpose for the drivers.