Lapierre “perfect teacher” for Schumacher’s WEC introduction

Sinault described Lapierre, who has 16 Le Mans 24 Hours starts to his name, as the “perfect teacher” for Schumacher in the line-up in the #36 Alpine A424 LMDh completed by Matthieu Vaxiviere.

“It is clear we made this decision [for Schumacher] to be ready as soon as possible,” said Sinault, whose Signatech team has run Alpine’s endurance programme since 2013.

Sinault explained that the driver combinations announced at Alpine’s joint Formula 1/WEC launch on Wednesday were driven by the decision to put Schumacher alongside team stalwarts Lapierre and Vaxiviere for the first season of the A424 developed in conjunction with ORECA.

They were part of the line-up that won two WEC races in 2022 aboard the Alpine-Gibson A480 grandfathered LMP1 prior to the Renault brand taking a sabbatical from the Hypercar class and returning to LMP2 while the A424 was developed.

Schumacher, who will continue in his role as Mercedes Formula 1 reserve alongside his return to racing with Alpine, said: “I am very fortunate to be sharing the car with two such experienced drivers and can really learn from them.”

Sinault praised Schumacher’s attitude to his move into sportscar racing, which began with a try-out test at Jerez in October prior to his signing for the French manufacturer.

“He was like a sponge; his ears were open and he asked many questions,” he said of Schumacher’s first test in a sportscar.

Mick Schumacher, Alpine

Mick Schumacher, Alpine

Photo by: Alpine

Lapierre added: “It was clear from the first test when there was still a question mark about whether he wanted to join or not that Mick had the ability to fit into an endurance team.

“That is not always the case with people coming from single-seaters because it is a different world.

“Mick has the speed, we knew that before he came; it was more how he would adapt to sharing a car and fitting into a line-up of three drivers.

“He did very well in this respect, and it is very good to have him on the team. He also brings some fresh ideas and a new vibe.”

The #35 Alpine will be raced in the eight-round WEC by Charles Milesi, Ferdinand Habsburg and Paul-Loup Chatin.

Sinault stressed that there is “no number one and number two car” at what is officially known as the Alpine Endurance Team and he expects both to be “at the same level” when the series kicks off in Qatar next month.

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