After an opening half of the campaign contested entirely in Europe, the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is ready to rev back into life with Round 5 in North America. Like its competitors, Signatech-Alpine will discover the Mexico City circuit for the first time this week. Having won each of the last three races to establish a commanding lead in the LMP2 class standings, the N°36 crew (Nicolas Lapierre / Stéphane Richelmi / Gustavo Menezes) will be keen to maintain its current momentum.
At Spa-Francorchamps, in the Le Mans 24 Hours and then again at the Nürburgring, Alpine reached the top step of the LMP2 rostrum in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the capable hands of Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes, the N°36 Signatech-Alpine has established itself as the class’s benchmark.
The WEC is now embarking upon the overseas element of its season, with upcoming long-haul races in Mexico, the United States, Japan, China and Bahrain taking the teams well away from their more customary stomping grounds.To further add to the challenge, this five-race run begins in uncharted territory. Extensively overhauled to welcome the return of Formula 1 last year, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has already earned a reputation as one of motor racing’s most spectacular circuits. It is unique in several ways, with its long 1.2km main straight, fast corner sequences that are not for the faint-hearted and a tight-and-twisty section that winds between huge grandstands accommodating more than 100,000 spectators. It is, moreover, extremely bumpy and, being located at almost 2,300 metres above sea level, it poses a real test not only for the drivers but also for the engineers who will be tasked with striking the optimum set-up to suit the conditions.
Like the majority of their rivals, the Alpine drivers are champing at the bit to get out on-track in the Mexican heat. Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes arrive with the objective of tallying a fourth consecutive triumph, but with a 41-point advantage over their closest pursuers in the title chase The drivers of the N°36 Signatech-Alpine are well aware of the importance of consistency as they ramp up their bid for the World championship.