WHEN ALPINE and Caterham scrapped their joint venture and parted company last year, many car enthusiasts feared they might never see an Alpine on the road again. But the French sports car maker is back with a bang, and it’s thanks to the PlayStation game Gran Turismo.
This is the new Alpine Vision Gran Turismo concept. What started out as a car intended only for the virtual game world proved so popular around the boardroom table at the Renault subsidiary that it built a concept for the real world. And it may offer a taster of future models.
Although not meant for production, the Vision GT has been designed with technology that Alpine is using to create a new real sports car. It is currently on display in Paris at the Festival Automobile International.
The maker says it boasts a 4.5-litre V8 engine mounted behind the two seats, which produces 444bhp and could power the rear-wheel-drive car to 199mph. It weighs just 900kg – less than the lightest Fiat 500.
“In terms of performance it slots between the LMP2 [Le Mans] endurance racing prototype and our forthcoming sports car,” said Terry Baillon, an engineer at Alpine. “If you look carefully, you may discern some of the handling characteristics of our future road-going model, while some features are specific to the prototypes that compete at Le Mans.”
If you like the sound of its spec and the look of its bodywork, you can take it for a test drive – in Gran Turismo 6. It will be available as a free download from March.
The Vision Gran Turismo project celebrates 15 years – and more than 72m sales – of the game. Kazunori Yamauchi, president of its developer, Polyphony Digital, invited 28 car companies to design a Vision GT model. They include Mercedes, Nissan and Chevrolet – which all enjoyed the project so much, they built their design for real.
For a full set of images of Alpine’s vision, visit our Facebook page.