Could underdog Alpine be a shock contender at Le Mans?

With that in mind, I wonder if Famin’s pessimism around Le Mans was perhaps misplaced. You could argue Alpine’s results at Qatar and Spa were buoyed by chaos, but is that not the nature of endurance racing? Even the tragically slow Peugeots looked in with a shot at Le Mans glory during last year’s rain – and showers are once again on the cards.

I’d also suggest that Alpine has an especially motivated pair of drivers in Ferdinand Habsburg and Mick Schumacher, each crewing the number 35 and 36 cars.

Alpine WEC team at Le Mans

Habsburg – no, the name isn’t coincidental: he really is a prince – suffered two fractured vertebrae in April, having crashed during a test at Spain’s Motorland Aragon. He missed Imola and Spa but now returns for the jewel in the crown of the WEC calendar. Habsburg is quoted by Sportscar365 as saying that he feels “really strong” ahead of his comeback, and the effort he’s put into a return for Le Mans shows his desire for a successful run at the biggest race of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if that sheer wanting translates into strong pace.

Schumacher, meanwhile, is in with a shot at returning to F1 with Alpine. Esteban Ocon is vacating his seat at the end of this season, and Pierre Gasly is still in talks on a renewal, so there’s at least one open space.

Schumacher very clearly has his eyes (and heart) on it. He told me that he chose Alpine’s WEC programme over other teams because it’s the “closest to Formula 1”, pointing to Famin’s involvement in both series. But, given Schumacher’s previous F1 campaigns were hardly impressive, he almost certainly needs to do more to impress Alpine’s bigwigs.

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