After a 20-year absence from competitive motorsport, Alpina is making a return to the FIA GT3 European Championship.
Recognized in Germany as a vehicle manufacturer, the company is best known for its development of ultra-high-performance variants of the BMW model range. Therefore, it intends to enter a racecar based on the BMW Alpina B6 S in the FIA GT3 European Championship, as well as major endurance events.
In the hands of F1 and Touring Car drivers such as Niki Lauda, Jacky Ickx, Hans Stuck and Dieter Quester, Alpina notched up numerous European Touring Car Championships and Nrburgring 24-hour race wins over the years, as well as the 24 Hours of Spa in 1970.
"We think the BMW 6-Series - especially with the massive torque of the supercharged 4.4 liter V8 Alpina engine in the B6S (530hp, 535 lb-ft) -- provides the ideal basis to challenge pure-bred sports cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin within the framework of GT3 regulations," said Andreas Bovensiepen, Alpina proprietor.
With his own history in racing, Bovensiepen initiated and oversees the project. He sees GT3 with its line-up of ten manufacturers, multiple national championships and starting grids of 45 cars in the European Championship, as the pinnacle of production-based motorsport.
As in the 1970s, Alpina will also sell racecars to individual campaigners, collectors and race teams. Alpina's participation in the sport is part of a strategy of consistent growth and brand development. In particular, GT3 provides the opportunity to raise awareness in new markets without compromising the exclusivity of the marque.
The B6S is based on the BMW 6-Series and is the sportiest representative of the Alpina line-up. Performance numbers include 4.5sec to 62mph from a standing start, while 186mph (300km/h) passes by in less than a 60sec. It comes with a torque-sensing limited-slip differential as standard, locking to 30% under acceleration and 20% on a trailing throttle. Developed in co-operation with Sachs Race Engineering, the electronically-controlled damping is also standard on the B6 S. The dampers increase their resistance in a fraction of a second to help ensure safe driving.
Coinciding with entry into GT3 racing, a new $20 million engineering centre will soon be completed. This will allow Alpina to make its services available to third parties, and to bring its products to market more rapidly.
In a unique and close engineering partnership with BMW, Alpina has been manufacturing racing and road-going BMW Alpina automobiles for over 40 years.
Alpina has worked closely with BMW AG since 1961, with shared warranty coverage since 1964. Alpina GmbH was established in 1965 for the purpose of building BMW Alpina automobiles, with registration as an automobile manufacturer to ISO standards in 1983.