Initially scheduled for last weekend, the FIA Endurance World Championship Prologue was postponed until Monday and Tuesday due to delayed sea-freight. The first official gathering of the 2024 season brought the competitors at Lusail, where the opening race of the calendar will take place on Saturday.



Alpine Endurance Team made the most of this reduced track time to prepare its Hypercar for its competition debut. The crews of Charles Milesi, Ferdinand Habsburg and Paul-Loup Chatin in the #35 car and Matthieu Vaxiviere, Mick Schumacher and Nicolas Lapierre in the #36 car aimed to check all the systems and acquire as much information as possible on this new track for the discipline.



At 6pm on Monday, Paul-Loup Chatin and Nicolas Lapierre were the first to get behind the wheel of the Alpine A424s in an official session. Both began to work hard on the 5,418-metre circuit before handing over to their teammates. With over a thousand kilometres covered in five hours, the team continued its programme the following day in two three-hour sessions.



Continuing the stints, the team gathered crucial data on their Hypercar and the development of the Michelin tyres. Despite an engine issue in the morning on the #35 car, Alpine broke the two-hundred-lap barrier and lowered its reference times under the impetus of Charles Milesi and Nicolas Lapierre. Les Bleus finished the Prologue with 467 laps completed, a total of more than 2,530 kilometres on a very particular track that the team was discovering.



At the conclusion of the final session, the mechanics embarked on a race against the clock to completely service both cars. Meanwhile, the engineers and drivers are now working hard to analyse the data gathered before the Alpine A424's racing debut on this same circuit.



Starting on Thursday, the team will have three official free practice sessions to continue working on its setup ahead of qualifying on Friday afternoon. The start of the first race of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship season will be at 11am local time, and the race will cover a distance of 1,812km (and a maximum of ten hours).



Making its Hypercar debut, where it joins some of the world's most prestigious brands, Alpine Endurance Team will have just one goal with its drivers: to reach the finish of this event, the second longest on the calendar after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to learn as much as possible.



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Charles Milesi
"It was a positive Prologue which enabled us to discover Qatar, where some teams had the opportunity to test this winter. We had two good days during which we learnt a lot about the car and the track while improving in several areas. We now have a good base to work on during free practice. We're making gradual progress during this long week, and we all look forward to seeing what the race has in store for us."


Ferdinand Habsburg
"I had a lot of fun with the team during the Prologue. I was a bit nervous this weekend before our first laps in an official session, but we had a good test. In this first time on the track against all the other manufacturers, we improved from one session to another. I can't wait to take them all on in the race with my teammates!"



Paul-Loup Chatin
"It was a good Prologue overall and we can be fairly satisfied. We had a big test plan to complete, and we managed to get through it to give the engineers plenty of data to analyse between now and Thursday. We had an engine issue, but the team did a fast and excellent job of changing it and getting us back on track. In such conditions, this great collective effort for a first time with a new car highlights the team's strength."


Matthieu Vaxiviere
"The Prologue was rewarding in more ways than one. We took the measure of the Lusail circuit while continuing our in-depth work with the A424. We went in the right direction, the sessions went well, and we learnt a lot in different areas of our Hypercar’s operations. We will continue to work hard to progress step by step, and the intensity will build up to our first race on Saturday!"


Mick Schumacher
"We've worked hard to improve in all aspects of the car. The Prologue also allowed me to taste some of the challenges in endurance racing, such as traffic management, and it was good to rely on my knowledge of the track to get my bearings. We put in a lot of mileage to gather information, and I'm now looking forward to my first FIA WEC race. The target will be to run a serious race, make the most of our package and finish."



Nicolas Lapierre
"This Prologue was particularly exciting as it was the first official session of our project with the A424. Overall, things went pretty well, and we tried out everything we wanted on the car, energy management and tyres, but this hectic week has only just begun. We've learnt a lot in different conditions over two days. We must quickly analyse all the data we've gathered now to fine-tune our setup and prepare our strategy."



Philippe Sinault, Team Principal Alpine Endurance Team
"We knew that the Prologue would be intense, and it was, with a revamped schedule forcing the whole field and the organisers to demonstrate their ability to adapt. It was a full-scale general rehearsal for the drivers, engineers and mechanics. Overall, the two days were satisfactory. The team is in place, the processes are clearly defined, and everyone works well as a unit with a healthy amount of emulation between each member. We did a few short runs with several long stints, which is the key to getting to grips with the Michelin tyre compounds available for the race. The team reacted extremely well to the engine problem. We dealt with it very quickly and calmly to minimise the loss of time, which enabled us to complete our programme. The next 36 hours will be used to rebuild the cars before we start our first race weekend here in Qatar."



2024 Lusail Prologue

1. Porsche Penske Motorsport n°5 1:40.404s
2. Cadillac Racing n°2 1:40.458s
3. Hertz Team JOTA n°12 1:40.541s
16. Alpine Endurance Team n°35 1:42.448s
17. Alpine Endurance Team n°36 1:42.503s

In numbers

Alpine Endurance Team #35

Session 1: DNP
Session 2: 18th in 1:43.127s (102 laps)
Session 3: 15th in 1:42.778s (50 laps)
Session 4: 14th in 1:42.448s (54 laps)
Laps: 206 (Charles Milesi: 74; Ferdinand Habsburg: 61; Paul-Loup Chatin: 71)

Alpine Endurance Team #36

Session 1: DNP
Session 2: 17th in 1:43.066s (97 laps)
Session 3: 12th in 1:42.674s (84 laps)
Session 4 : 15th in 1:42.503s (80 laps)
Laps: 261 (Matthieu Vaxiviere: 77; Mick Schumacher: 79; Nicolas Lapierre: 105)

Qatar Airways Qatar 1812 Km – Schedule (CET)

Thursday 29 February

10:20-11:50: Free Practice 1
15:30-17:00: Free Practice 2

Friday 1 March

9:00-10:00: Free Practice 3
14:20-14:32: Hypercar Qualifying
14:58-15:08: Hypercar Hyperpole

Saturday 2 March

9:00-19:00: Qatar Airways Qatar 1812 Km