In June 2019 I was invited by Alpine Cars to experience their Alpine A110 in a once-in-a-lifetime road trip from Paris to the 24 hours of Le Mans, for the launch the new Alpine A110S.
Four photographers, two Alpine A110s, one road trip to Le Mans. Starting in Paris, and finishing at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Thanks must go to the great team of people at Alpine Cars who made this trip possible. Click the logo to visit their IG account.
The plan, such as it was, was to take the Autoroute du Nord out of Paris and cover a reasonable chunk of the distance to Le Mans in the first stint of driving before heading off in search of some different backdrops to take photographs.
This was partly due to our ignorance of Paris traffic on a Saturday morning, and with the aim to get to Le Mans by lunchtime, we thought it best to get away from the city early before getting caught in traffic.
First stop then was just east of Chartres, where we got chance to take a walk around the two cars in daylight. As most have mentioned before me, the new A110 does take a lot of design cues from 1961 original.
This trip was interesting for many reasons, not least that there was little in the way of brief from Alpine. No explicit requirements for images, just a request to enjoy ourselves and post the occasional story or two on Instagram.
This meant that we were free to stop off whenever we wanted. Therefore on the Sunday morning on the way back to the circuit, when we found a small village with a market stall in front of church, next to a boulangerie, we stopped to take some photos, much to the bemusement of the locals.
Alpine had two variants of the A110S at the event, one in satin gray (this is the colour I'd personally choose), and one in white (this is the one that features in the photographs below).
As well as seeing the A110S, we also had an opportunity to talk to designer Antony Villain about the process they went through when developing the Alpine A110, and hear how the team spent time studying the Alpine heritage and brand ethos whilst sketching out ideas for the modern interpretation of the original A110.
It was clear from all the people I spoke to over the weekend that there is a real passion at Alpine for the brands heritage that dates back to 1955.
Last time I was at Le Mans for the 24 hour race was 2003, when Bentley took the win. It is safe to say that a lot has changed in the intervening years, not least my love of photography. I took a camera with me in 2003, but it was pre-digital and I didn't take many shots if I remember correctly.
This year, I tried to make up for that shortcoming by getting the most out of the opportunity and photographing what I could from the various spectator locations and from the Alpine Hospitality suite, although there is no denying that Le Mans is tricky location to shoot due to the amount of catch fencing there is.
Thanks once more to Alpine Cars for the opportunity to experience the Alpine A110 and their hospitatlity at Le Mans.