The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo – fruit of the collective imagination of the designers and engineers entrusted with developing the 21st Century Berlinette – will blast into homes all over the world in March, 2015. Every owner of the game Gran Turismo 6 will be able to download this virtual model and find themselves behind the wheel of the most incredible Alpine yet. As the icing on the cake and to appeal to the eyes, this concept car has also been produced in the form of a full-scale model.
The story began in July, 2013, when Polyphony Digital Inc. – the studio responsible for the development of PlayStation® Gran Turismo – encouraged Alpine to take up the challenge of designing a virtual car. On both sides of the table, the enthusiasm and passion for this project were mutual. The Alpine teams immediately threw themselves into the exciting initiative with the same commitment as they have shown for the development of the forthcoming road model.
An in-house competition involving around 15 designers was won by the project submitted by Victor Sfiazof: “It’s a genuine sportscar which combines the passion for cars with enjoyment behind the wheel. There are numerous references to the past, present and future. The idea of a ‘barquette’ stemmed from the Alpine A450’s involvement in the Le Mans 24 Hours. That said, the front end takes its inspiration from the A110, and the vertical fins at the rear recall the A210 and A220 while making a real contribution to the car’s styling. As an aeronautic fan, I wanted to incorporate cues from the world of aviation, too. The airbrakes add a nice high-tech touch to the rear end. This exclusive model similarly integrates hints of the future Alpine, but we can’t say any more about that just yet!”
A SPECTACULAR DESIGN
The guided tour of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo begins with the front of the car, which bears a striking resemblance to the A110. The sloping V-shaped bonnet is enhanced by a central crease and, in another nod to the 1960s, the cross-shaped LED lights recall the black tape that was used to protect the additional lights fitted to the Berlinette rally cars. These references to the past blend in seamlessly with an undeniably modern aerodynamic package which includes a splitter designed to channel airflow along the body sides. It also provides a glimpse of the suspension wishbones.
The car’s profile awakens other memories. The air that escapes behind the front wheels is directed through large intakes, which accentuate the narrow form of the body. Complementing the overall harmony, the long lateral rear fins call to mind the A210s and A220s which shone so brilliantly in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The appeal of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo is further enhanced by its open cockpit. The driver sits on the right, a design typical of sport-prototype cars given that the majority of circuits run in a clockwise direction.
The rear-end design – the most popular view amongst gamers – represents an unmistakeable highlight of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo. The flat bottom that runs beneath the car terminates in arched form, while a lower wing links the wheel arches to the stern. As at the front, the bodywork exposes the double wishbone suspension. The most striking characteristics of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo become apparent under braking. Integrated into the profile of the tail, the hydraulically-activated airbrakes can be deployed in an instant, while at the same time revealing the brake lights!
BEHIND THE WHEEL: A TRUE ALPINE
The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo might be a virtual machine, but it was nonetheless duty-bound to adopt driving dynamics and handling characteristics worthy of its glorious predecessors. Terry Baillon, a simulation and chassis development engineer for the forthcoming production model, therefore treated this vehicle as if it would one day take to the road for real: “Right from the outset of the project, we set performance and handling targets for the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo. We then transcribed them into technical characteristics, with the object of achieving driving dynamics for players that are in keeping with what we envisioned back at the start. We used our own software in the development, before sending our data to Polyphony Digital to enable them to model the vehicle within the context of the video game.”
In front of the screen and holding either a steering wheel or a PlayStation Dual Shock® controller, long test sessions were required in order to refine the settings of the car. Blending elements of both the Alpine A450 racing car and the 21st Century Berlinette, the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo offers a few glimpses of the driving dynamics of the forthcoming road-going model, while at the same time displaying characteristics specific to Le Mans prototypes. Being a true Alpine, the accent is placed very much upon agility, spirit and driving enjoyment!