Schumacher fired up to ‘attack’ Le Mans 2024 with Alpine

Le Mans News

Mick Schumacher is set to follow in the enduro wheel tracks of his father this weekend, as he gears up to race for Alpine at Le Mans — an opportunity, as he tells James Elson, which could act as a great proving ground

Alpine Le Mans 2024 Mick Schumacher

Schumacher has a shot at glory with Alpine in Le Mans – unlike his last two years in F1


As racing projects go, it doesn’t get more patriotic than this.

Alpine, a French brand featuring a long association with one of the world’s most famous races – held in its own back yard – will go toe-to-toe with other top Hypercar manufacturers while decked out in Gallic racing blue.

It’s being run by the crack French endurance squad Signatech, and has four homegrown sports car stars: Charles Milesi, Paul-Loup Chatin, Nicholas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière.

The two outliers in its line-up, in being the non-French drivers, are Ferdinand Habsburg and one Mick Schumacher.

Alpine Le Mans 2024 xxx

A nation expects – even if the Alpine project is in its formative stages

The latter, a single-seater native who today finds himself in a land where everyone speaks sports car, is now embroiled in the fight for the pride of a nation – he tells Motor Sport that Alpine wants to “prove to the world” it’s to be taken seriously at Le Mans this weekend.

The German is the only driver on his team to have won any single-seater world championship, never mind two. He’s the only one with bonafide grand prix experience, but after a bruising two years at the back with Haas in F1, says he’s relishing the group effort with multiple drivers on each cars.

“It’s great,” he enthuses. “It’s good to have direct feedback from somebody who drives the exact same car.

“You can have a straight comparison to see what areas you still need to improve in.

“I think we have some very experienced drivers in the team, especially in my car with Nicola and Mattheu. It’s brilliant to to be paired up with them.”

3 Alpine Spa 2024 Mick Schumacher

Schumacher now feels settled into team and driver line-up


As sports car provenance goes, the Alpine team is awash with talent. Lapierre is the team’s talisman with three WEC LMP2 titles and four class wins at Le Mans – not to mention two overall Sebring 12 Hours victories too.

Milesi is an LMP2 world champion too, while Chatin and Vaxivière both have European Le Mans Series crowns to their names.

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However, when Schumacher is asked if he gets any greater satisfaction from success with such talented team-mates, he gives the cold-blooded response of a grand prix veteran: “I’m just here to race the best I can.”

Clearly though, the team effort is paying off. Signatech used all its experience in the first race at Qatar, the No35 of Milesi, Habsburg and Chatin making one less stop to nick ninth place and with it two points on debut.

That same car came home seventh in Spa, while Schumacher’s machine has shown the pace to nudge into a top ten occupied by Ferrari, Toyota and Porsche, but hasn’t quite put together a full race performance.

It’s still been particularly impressive though in the light of BMW – a manufacturer with a year more Hypercar experience than Alpine, having run in IMSA – having been slower up to the Le Mans weekend, and fellow newcomer Lamborghini finding itself rooted to the back of the grid along with the independent Isotta Frischini squad – as well as the Peugeot HyperCar’s continued travails.

2 Alpine Le Mans 2024 Mick Schumacher

A new environment down the Mulsanne at Le Mans


How close does Schumacher feel to scoring those first points on the eve of the big race?

“That’s a good question,” he muses. “We were a bit unfortunate in Imola [when the No36 car was caught up in a first corner collision] I think we had the speed.

“Qatar was probably our best race, we had good pace until my little accident through the gravel damaged the front splitter. Up to that point, we were on for a top five finish.”

Helping Schumacher to adapt has been a A424 LMDh Hypercar which has thus far proved to be a pliable – and reliable – prospect.

4 Alpine Spa 2024 Mick Schumacher

A424 has provided solid base for endurance team to build on


It might not have the gilt-edged pace required to get on terms with WEC’s biggest players yet, but getting to the podium first requires you to finish – aside from in a 24-hour contest, Alpine has already cracked that part.

“I was pretty much settled in the car right away,” says Schumacher. “It’s a race car – it’s not rocket science.

“At the end of the day, you try to push the car to the limit and try and make it stick in the corners!

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“There are a few things I’ve have to adapt to like the energy management – we have a few sections that we’re not good at yet, we’re looking to optimise mid-corner speed, which is very important.

“Thinking back, this car has only been going approximately 10 months on a racetrack, so it’s not too far away.”

Schumacher’s legendary father Michael was a junior Mercedes Group-C driver for two years from 1990 before he made the F1 switch, in fact winning two races – the second, coming at the Japanese round in Autopolis, being his last ever competitive sports car appearance.

Does Schumacher think about extending the family’s sporting legacy in endurance racing?

“Not at all,” he says. “It enables me to keep my Mercedes reserve driver role and keep racing – since WEC has such increased competition, it’s a great place for me to show what I can do.”

2 Alpine Spa 2024 Mick Schumacher

Alpine is fired up for its first Le Mans with a Hypercar – but needs to avoid the La Sarthe chaos


There’s nowhere better to demonstrate his mettle at Le Mans in a team which is desperate to do well at its first home race as a Hypercar manufacurer.

“It’s massive, massive,” he says. “Everyone’s super excited for it and can’t wait for it to get going.

“Especially, we want to do well at Le Mans and prove to the world that the project is ready to attack.”