World Endurance Championship Round 2. Le Mans, France. June 2018. Image: John Stevens for JellyBaby.Media

French motorsport magazine Auto Hebdo has reported that the Signatech Alpine team will announce their move to the LMP1 Category for the 2020/21 WEC Season next Monday, 14th September. 

The programme is expected to be based around a single car, a Rebellion R13 made by Oreca and most likely re-badged (A480?). Drivers are expected to be Brazilian André Négrão, the American Gustavo Menezes and Frenchman Nathanaël Berthon. 

Rebellion R13 Gibson #1. 2019 FIA WEC Shanghai. Image: Kelvin Pope for Jellybaby.media

A return to LMP1 after 10 years of LMP2 for Philippe Sinault’s men has been made possible both by Rebellion stepping back to free up a chassis and by the acceptance next year of the current LMP1 Non Hybrids alongside the Le Mans Hypercar of Toyota, ByKolles and Glickenhaus.

Entering a new chassis into the WEC endurance races is difficult and fraught with problems, let alone running the 24 Hours of Le Mans without a hitch- just look how hard Ginetta had to work with the G60, so using the R13 with its proven reliability is a smart move from the French team.

Signatech Alpine no longer has anything to prove in the lower, LMP2 category so with the grandfathering of the current LMP1 cars for next season, now would seem the perfect time for the team to step back into the top class.

This is great news for the WEC which can now hope for a handful of competitors in its premier class during the coming season and a nice thumbs up to fate for Alpine, 43 years after the 1978 victory – against Porsche! – and one year before the arrival of Peugeot.