Alpine Endurance Team boss Philippe Sinault has stated that this weekend’s Eight Hours of Portimao will form the first major test of the season for the French Hypercar squad.
Alpine scored an overall podium in its first outing in the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.
Sinault states that Portimao will be a greater test for the team due to a combination of an unknown and demanding venue, weather conditions and the longer nature of the eight-hour enduro as opposed to the six-hour contest at Spa.
“All races have their specificities, but Portimão represents the first real test of the season,” Sinault said. “We have only competed on this circuit once before, and we found it to be unique with its elevation changes being a true physical test to the drivers.
“The other particularity will be the duration of the race as it will be the first eight-hour round, thus increasing the challenge to the teams, mechanics and crews.
“With this track and expected temperatures, tyre degradation should also be an area to focus on, and in particular the left front tyre that is particularly stressed in Portimão. It will undoubtedly add an extra dose of management, strategy and humanity to the race.
“In addition to the track, other parameters will come into play as we will have to continue to adapt our A480 to a constantly finetuned balance of performance.”
An additional challenging factor for Alpine is the arrival of the second true Hypercar manufacturer in the form of American privateers Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, who are making their series debut.
“The task is now getting more complicated with the arrival of Glickenhaus, a new opponent that we are delighted to welcome, and the LMP2s are more dangerous than ever,” Sinault concluded.
“We are looking forward to the first practice session to find out who is in the top tier, although our main target will be to continue our learning curve building on the lessons learned at Spa.”