Alpine to tackle Pikes Peak hill climb in 500bhp version A110 coupé

'The A110 Pikes Peak is the culmination of Alpine's art'

French performance car brand Alpine has announced that it is to take part in the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA for the first time with a bespoke version of its A110 sports car.

While the wild-looking interpretation of the A110 looks set for the ‘Unlimited’ racing category, it is in fact eligible to compete against other production-based racers in the Time Attack 1 formula.

When the course’s green flag drops at 7:30am on June 25, Raphaël Astier — winner of the 2022 FIA R-GT Cup in an A110 Rally, another version of the car modified for competition — will take the wheel of the A110 Pikes Peak up the 12.42-mile course, rising 1,440 metres in the process and crossing the finish line at 4,302 metres above sea level.

Upgraded 1.8-litre engine

To cope with such an extreme elevation, and the loss of power as the air thins towards the top, Alpine has significantly upgraded the A110’s engine. However, because of the Time Attack 1 class rules, it’s still a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit, as in the production car, sitting behind the driver and powering the rear wheels.

Full technical details have yet to be revealed but Alpine has confirmed that it will have approximately 500bhp (up from 296bhp in the A110 S and A110 R road cars), partly thanks to the prominent air inlet on the roof of the racer. That’s integrated into the carbon fibre panel replacing the rear window — as also found on the A110 R, the most extreme road-going version of the car.

Alpine A110 Pikes Peak

While the A110 R’s aerodynamics were comprehensively overhauled, its body kit pales into insignificance next to that of the Pikes Peak model.

A distinctive Le Mans-style fin runs from the air inlet to bisect the massive two-part rear wing, while the width of the wing is mirrored by a deep new diffuser lower down.

There are slender vertical LED lights on the extremities of the wing in a nod to Alpine’s endurance racing endeavours. Indeed, the one-off A110 was developed in conjunction with Signatech, a French racing outfit that also prepares Alpine’s Le Mans racers and the A110 Rally.

Not likely to lead to a new road car

Other obvious aerodynamic upgrades include a ground-hugging front spoiler, tiny door mirrors and a completely closed-in wheel design. The changes build on those introduced for the A110 R but are not likely to be found on a future road-legal derivative of the car.

Alpine A110 Pikes Peak

Despite the extra bodywork and safety equipment, Alpine has managed to reduce the mass of the A110 further from the 1,082kg kerb weight it quotes for the R model. The Pikes Peak weighs in at just 950kg.

Following two days of testing at high altitude in Drôme and in Val Thorens, the A110 Pikes Peak has been signed off for competition and will be flown to the USA next week in preparation for the event.

François Letort, Alpine A110 Pikes Peak Project Manager said: “The first two testing days went really smoothly. The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak met all its initial targets, which is a remarkable feat in such a short time.”

Alpine A110 Pikes Peak

Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, described Pikes Peak as a “motor sport event that has captured the imagination for decades”.

“To race on a legendary course, we needed a car fit for the event,” he said. “The Alpine A110 Pikes Peak is … the culmination of Alpine’s art. Aggressive, extreme and stylish, this project again embodies our roots, present and future, all in a country of strategic importance.

“We stay humble, but we are determined to give our best on the other side of the Atlantic to write a new and unforgettable chapter in the history of Alpine through this magnificent adventure to the clouds.”

About Pikes Peak

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb first took place in 1916 and is billed as the second-oldest race in the United States (after the Indianapolis 500).

Incredibly, the road wasn’t fully paved until 2011. Before that it was a dirt track with very few guardrails protecting racers from vertiginous drops. It was captured in all its glory in an art film called Climb Dance, made by Jean Louis Mourey in 1988.

The film follows Ari Vatanen setting a record time in a modified Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 GR. The Finnish rally driver finished the course in 10min 47.77sec.

Despite the asphalt, it’s not a whole lot safer today.

The current record for the hill climb is held by Frenchman Romain Dumas at 7 minutes, 57.148 seconds. He set that time in 2018 in the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R.

Another prominent competitor for the 2023 event is Tanner Foust in a purpose-built version of the Radford Type 62-2, though that will compete in the ‘Exhibition’ category.

There’s a wide variety of makes and models up against the Alpine in Time Attack 1, including lots of Porsches, a Dodge Viper, Lotus Elise and even a Mini Cooper S.

Radford Type 62-2 Pikes Peak Edition

Related articles

Latest articles