The French carmaker has a rich history in rallying having competed in the WRC with its iconic A110 in the 1960 and 1970s. It has recently returned to the arena with a rally version of its new A110 model which is eligible to compete in the R-GT class.
Speaking to selected media at Alpine’s Formula 1 launch this week, Luca De Meo CEO of Renault confirmed the brand’s motorsport’s arm Alpine is interested in returning to the WRC with an electric vehicle.
Reports from France have indicated the new Alpine A5 could provide the brand a model in which to base a future WRC challenger.
De Meo was tight-lipped around any plans surrounding the Dakar Rally, which has enjoyed a resurgence recently with Audi the latest marque to field a works entry.
“I am interested in exploring, it remains to be seen if we can find the right conditions to participate in the World Rally Championship, but I want to do it with an electric car, which is not possible nowadays. And I also want to do the Dakar,” said De Meo, according to reports from French media.
Currently the WRC doesn’t permit fully-electric vehicles, although the championship has this year taken its first step in that direction with the launch of Rally1 regulations, built around hybrid powered vehicles. Toyota, Hyundai and Ford through M-Sport have committed to the new hybrid rules for the next three years.
However, the FIA is known to be urging the WRC to already consider its next set of regulations which may come into play as early as 2025 to ensure the championship stays relevant among automotive trends and can attract more manufacturers.
The FIA’s new deputy president Robert Reid told media, including Motorsport.com, there are several options for the WRC to consider for its next ruleset including a possible move to electric or hydrogen powered cars.
Alpine’s parent brand Renault has already revealed plans to return to rallying through the new Rally3 class, confirming it will develop a four-wheel drive challenger to be launched early next year.
“It’s coming in a few weeks for the first test,” said Renault Customer Racing director Benoit Nogier. “Like you can imagine, we are still discovering a little bit this new category, but we are working hard – it’s good to have Renault’s first four-wheel drive car.”