Sinault, the head of Signatech, the team overseeing Alpine’s endurance program, hailed Lapierre as the ideal mentor for Schumacher, who boasts 16 Le Mans 24 Hours starts. Lapierre will join Schumacher in the #36 Alpine A424 LMDh, alongside Matthieu Vaxiviere.
“Our decision to pair Schumacher with Lapierre reflects our aim to prepare him swiftly,” Sinault explained during Alpine’s joint Formula 1/WEC launch. Signatech has overseen Alpine’s endurance endeavors since 2013.
The driver lineup unveiled at the launch, combining Schumacher with seasoned drivers Lapierre and Vaxiviere, was driven by the decision to debut the A424 alongside ORECA, following Alpine’s sabbatical from the Hypercar class. This trio previously clinched two WEC victories in 2022 aboard the Alpine-Gibson A480 grandfathered LMP1.
Schumacher, concurrently serving as Mercedes Formula 1 reserve driver, expressed gratitude for the opportunity: “I am very fortunate to be sharing the car with two such experienced drivers and can really learn from them.”
Sinault commended Schumacher’s adaptability to endurance racing, noting his receptive demeanor during initial sportscar tests at Jerez in October.
“He was like a sponge; his ears were open and he asked many questions,” Sinault remarked.
Lapierre echoed this sentiment: “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.”
“Mick has the speed; we knew that before he came,” Lapierre continued. “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 feature Charles Milesi, Ferdinand Habsburg, and Paul-Loup Chatin for the eight-round WEC.
Sinault emphasized parity between the #35 and #36 cars, stating there is “no number one and number two car” within the Alpine Endurance Team. He expects both entries to perform equally when the series commences in Qatar next month.