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Thread: Renault Alpine A500 1976-1977

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    Renault Alpine A500 1976-1977

    The prototype for the first ever Renault F1 car, the RS01. It used a 1420cc version of the engine used in the A442 sportscar.
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    Turbo.
    During early development the engine was undrivable due to it's power delivery -- 130hp most of the time and a switch that turned on 500+hp when the turbo spooled.
    So they continued testing with a "borrowed" A442 engine of 2l to continue development of the chassis.

    Not sure the claim of 1402 for original engine is right ? You got a source ??
    The "official" Alpine-Renault book is sketching on it

    PS: hate to say as a purist it should be ALPINE-RENAULT for all these !!! ( well arguable for the last of the GTA and A610, but we prefer ALPEEN !!! )
    Last edited by Matra et Alpine; 06-18-2013 at 03:42 AM.
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    The source is the book Alpine en Compétition written by Michel Morelli.

    Ever since the turbocharged V6 Gordini engine was unveiled fir the A442 a group young engineers envisioned a version for Formula 1, with reduced capacity for Formula 1. This 1420cc unit was first tested in the bank and then installed in an A442 chassis.

    Simultaneously, a new chassis for Formula 2 was developped, the A500, for potential competitor in the category powered by the normally aspirated V6 version of the Gordini engine used by the A440.

    That group of engineers then decided to test the 1420cc turbo engine in the A500 chassis, effectively creating the A500 Formula 1 prototype.

    In 1976 Jean Pierre Jabouille tested extensively (posted pic) the car in many race track after the Grand Prixs of that seasons had been held. At the insistence of Jabouille many solutions were tried and defect corrected (the turbo lag, the understeer,...) and lap times imporved fast, with the A500 setting times which would have placed it in the middle grid.

    This fast improvement convinced Renault to give the green light to the porject and hence the first Formula 1 Renault car was born, the RS01.
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    hmmm, I'm not sure as that seems to reflect the "story" given at the time to protect Alpine who knew they would be in trouble if they admitted they were building a future F1 car. I'll dig out my Alpine Bleu book and check.

    Couldn't find a copy online, but interestingly DID find this other A-R book, focussed on the F1 development. Gives some of the other side of this tale Alpine Renault: The Development of the Revolutionary Turbo F1 Car 1968 to 1979 - Roy Smith - Google Books
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

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    Interesting. So it seems that for all intents and purposes the A500 was never intended to be a Formula 2 car, but a test mule for the Formula 1 engine.
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    For a whole F1 car Just they daren't let anyone know or they would be fired !!
    Alpine wanted to take the reigns from Matra for F1 after Ligier failed.
    Remember at the time French motor industry and motorsport was very much a nationalised industry. So political preferences abounded
    Renault had more clout
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    For a whole F1 car Just they daren't let anyone know or they would be fired !!
    Alpine wanted to take the reigns from Matra for F1 after Ligier failed.
    Remember at the time French motor industry and motorsport was very much a nationalised industry. So political preferences abounded
    Renault had more clout
    That's the same that happened with the A350. Only in this case the project was surrounded by even more secrecy! And the car was destroyed afterwards...

    One of the great things about posting in the hideout is that you learn all those obscure stories and what ifs within the auto industry.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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