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Wizards of wind

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AERO
DYNAMICS

a watchword for Alpine

After joining Alpine in 1963, Marcel Hubert became one of the brand’s leading lights of the Jean Rédelé era. Nicknamed "Aerodynamite" and "The man with soles of wind", he played a key role in streamlining the design of Alpine’s models and optimising the way they cut through the air.

SCIENCE
MEETS

technology

Over the past 40 years, automotive aerodynamics engineering has significantly evolved, and the current team has been able to take full advantage of all the new technological aids to exemplify Alpine’s ethos by effortlessly blending efficiency with playful agility.

Today, it is no longer about simply splitting the air; you also need to direct it and exploit it so that it becomes an ally,

explains project manager, Stephan Barral.

CATHEDRAL

of wind

Jointly created in 2001 by PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault and France’s National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, the S2A wind tunnel in Saint-Cyr, southwest of Paris, is one of the most advanced anywhere in the world. This facility permits the observation of airflow around a vehicle in conditions that are as close as possible to the open road and at speeds ranging from standstill to 240kph.

winds from

0 to 240km/h

It was here that a clay model of the forthcoming Alpine – sufficiently malleable so as to allow the car to be repeatedly remoulded throughout the tests – was closely studied on more than 10 occasions.

Our objective was to retain the elegant and flowing silhouette inspired by the A110, 

reveals Stephan Barral.

AT ONE

with the wind

This meant that the car’s slender and compact rear-end design end has gone unmodified, but for a slightly raised rear lip. So as not to dilute its classic style and appeal, the team focused its efforts on the front end and the underbody. At the front, a bumper directs air underneath the vehicle, assisted by a flat floor equipped with small fins – a technique straight out of F1. This has the effect of speeding up airflow, which in turn enhances road holding and reduces drag. Two lateral scoops in the bumper channel the air into a narrowed duct in order to minimise the turbulence generated by the tyres on the sides of the car. From the door mirror stalks to a slightly notched roof line, every last detail has been painstakingly refined to ensure that the wind hugs the outline of the car as closely as possible.

ALPINE TEAM

photography