When Renault first announced the resurrection of the Alpine brand, expectations were naturally high. One year on from the release of the Alpine A110 it’s fair to say that Alpine succeeded in every aspect not only revoking the emotions of the brand’s first iteration, but also delivering an Alpine that is true to the essence of its namesake and earning universal praise.
In the slipstream of the A110 road car a Cup version was born, to be raced in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. Like its road-going sibling, the Cup car delivered with exciting races and praise from its drivers.
But what is it that makes the Alpine A110 Cup such a joy to race? FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA Sports Car Championship driver Renger van der Zande took to Circuit Zolder during the La Piste Bleue event to put the Alpine A110 Cup and road cars to the test.
“The Alpine A110 Cup is a fantastic car with not much more potential: it is what it is,” Van der Zande says.
“It has a lot of power and quite a bit of grip which will make for some great racing.
“One of the most fun races I’ve ever done was in the Volvo Cup where I had a lot of fun: Racing side-by-side, pushing a bit. It was hard but fair.
“Of course, you can’t really compare the Alpine Cup to the Volvo Cup, but the cars are all equal, and you can have a lot of fun in a race like that.
“I’ll be waiting for an invitation to race the Alpine Cup!”
The street car, too, gets Van der Zande’s approval—maybe even a bit more than the race car.
“I really like the street car. The fact that the engine isn’t very powerful is covered up by the low weight of the car.
“You definitely do feel that ‘kick’ when you push the throttle, but the power-to-weight ratio makes the car feel very balanced. It kind of drives like a kart: the car will always turn in and oversteer on entry is easy to handle. It’s very forgiving and feels like you can play around with it which is exactly what you’re looking for in this car.
“Most Porsches are built to go very fast while being safe and feel precise. The Alpine feels precise as well, but still feels playful and somewhat loose at the same time which makes for a very fun drive.
“To be honest, I even like the street version better than the race version. If you fit the street car with slicks you’ll have a fantastic car.”
Read a more detailed track comparison of both cars and a second opinion by historic race car driver Shirley van der Lof in the winter 2019 edition of ALPINE VISION.