WEC - Interviews Alpine with Chatin, Habsburg and Milesi
Paul-Loup Chatin :
How do you feel, ten years after your Le Mans debut with Alpine?
I’m incredibly delighted to be back in blue. When I joined Alpine ten years ago, winning in LMP2 and ascending to the premier class together were my objectives. The first goal was met, and the second is about to come true. I'm thrilled and proud that it's happening today, and I'm determined to shine, once again, in the colours that I love so much at the highest level of world endurance motorsport.
Is it a dream to represent a French constructor?
It’s clearly a dream to represent Alpine at the pinnacle of endurance racing. Alpine is a brand with an outstanding history. As a French driver, it's a tremendous honour to be one of the Bleus in the World Endurance Championship and try to fight for overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
What are the strengths of your crew?
I'm delighted to be teaming up with Charles and Ferdinand. They are two excellent drivers, but more than that, they are two great people. I'm sure we'll get on well throughout the season. Between the three of us, I think we have all the qualities needed to be ambitious, but we're also going to have to show a great deal of humility in the face of this amazing challenge and rivals who are as strong as ever.
How was your off-season before your debut in the premier category?
My preparation focused mainly on driving cars as much as possible. When you are driving such a fast vehicle like a Hypercar, you don't want your body to be surprised or to rest for too long, as your mind gets used to slowing down quite quickly. Getting back into the car can be quite a shock, so I've tried to fill my schedule as much as possible. Not only is that good for your mind, but it's also the best physical preparation there is. I've also racked up my cardio training programme to keep my heart rate under control. On top of all that, I've made sure I have the best possible relationship with the team because this aspect will make the biggest difference.
How much do you look forward to your first race in the Alpine A424?
Obviously, I'm extremely excited for the first round of the calendar. I've never been to Qatar, so there will definitely be a learning curve with the track, but generally driving in the FIA WEC with so many Hypercars all coming to one corner at once is going to be exhilarating, something I never experienced before. Driving in a full factory and professional line-up will also be something special. It will be a challenge, but I'm sure I'm ready for this fantastic experience.
What are your thoughts on the trio you form with Paul-Loup and Charles?
I'm delighted with the crew we have. Of course, I know Charles quite well as we've won races and a championship together, so we know how to do it. I met Paul-Loup during testing, and we quickly got on well. He's a tremendously talented driver with a lot of experience to bring. I couldn't be happier to be with Paul-Loup because of the guy he is, both on and off the track so I am extremely happy.
How are you preparing for the Hypercar category challenge?
We're approaching it with humility. We know there is still much work to put in and experience to gain with the Alpine A424. I was lucky enough to be involved in the development, and it was hugely rewarding to follow the evolution of the project so closely. The first round of the calendar in Qatar will allow us to get our bearings and see how everything will go, even though we're confident in our car's intrinsic qualities. The aim will then be to fine-tune everything to be ready for the A424's first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
What is it like to be a French driver in a French team?
My priority was to be in a Hypercar, so doing it with Alpine was one of the first achievements of my career. I think it can make the story even better if we tick all the boxes we've set ourselves with the team. In any case, we're all the prouder to be involved and even more motivated to do things right.
Are you looking forward to reconnecting with two familiar faces in Paul-Loup and Ferdinand?
We're excited to be teaming up again, not to mention our three talented teammates in the sister car. Ferdinand and I have already won the 24 Hours of Le Mans together and the FIA WEC LMP2 title in 2021. That makes a big impression on us and we have a close relationship that we want to extend. Paul-Loup and I did a half-season with Signatech in 2022. We got on well and the idea of teaming up on this project naturally took root. This trio has good chemistry and strong foundations before embarking on the most ambitious adventure of our careers. It looks promising, as we saw during the development tests. Now it's up to us to do everything we can to take Alpine to the top!