The French are nothing if not proud, even if often for no particularly good reason beyond being French and proud. But the Le Mans 24 Hours provides a chance for some tricolor waving on a scale that the country's beleaguered auto industry rarely gets the excuse for. Which is why, we presume, Renault used the event to show off the latest in a long line of Alpine concepts.
Officially, this is nothing more than a design study made in celebration of the Gallic sports car brand's 60th anniversary, but it also seem to be the clearest hint yet of what the upcoming Alpine production car will look like. And the absence of any other details means we're free to speculate wildly.
Renault is committed to bringing the moribund sports car brand back to life, and although earlier plans to jointly develop a new model with Caterham acrimoniously fell apart, both partners still say they are pressing ahead with their own models.
During the brief life of the joint venture, Renault insiders admitted the finished car was likely to be mid-engined and to use a transverse-mounted turbocharged four, either the 1.6-liter fitted to the Clio Renaultsport (and also the ) or the brawnier 2.0-liter unit from the Megane Renaultsport, which produces 270 horsepower. Although the proportions of this concept appear to make that powertrain a tight fit, we're still calling it the most likely possibility.
When or if it finally emerges, the production car will be a rival to cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Porsche Cayman. At least, it will in those parts of the world where Renault still sells cars.
Update: Now there's video of the concept in motion.