Alpine V6 Turbo Europa Cup

Rédaction : Albert Lallement  

GTA enters the racetrack

Launched in 1985, the Europa Cup Championship for Monotypes was the main competition for four seasons for the Dieppe-based manufacturer's latest model, the Alpine GTA.

Renault regularly invested in monotype promotional formulas. Right from the start of the R8 Gordini Cup in 1966, the idea was to discover new talent through low cost races. Over time, these races became less economical, but the rule remained the same: to supply competitors with equitable equipment. In 1985, the Renault 5 Turbo was replaced by the Alpine V6 Turbo in the Renault European Cup.

Most rounds of the Europa Cup were run as preliminary races to the European Formula 1 Grand Prix, like here at SpaFrancorchamps in Belgium.© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. 

As with the previous R5 Turbo Cup, the series of races in the Alpine V6 Turbo Europa Cup usually took place at some of Europe's most prestigious circuits on the opening day of a number of Formula 1 Grand Prix events. This not only provided excellent exposure for the various sponsors who supported the competitors, but also for Renault as a company, who benefit from an exceptional promotional opportunity to showcase the qualities of the latest Alpine GTA.

The Europa Cup races were the scene of some epic battles. Joël Gouhier's car, often on the podium, with the support of Renault Chartres, was in third place. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R.

Launch of the GTA 

The Alpine V6 GTA, which was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in February 1985, was a completely new car that contrasted drastically with the preceding A310 V6 and V6 GT. The latter had become outdated, despite a final evolution of the sporty 2,664cc V6 PRV engine developed by Bernard Pierangeli at the Alpine Centre in Boulogne. The GTA is the generic name given to the two versions: one, the naturally-aspirated V6 GT, features the 2,849 cm3 V6 PRV developing 160 bhp (235 km/h), while the other, the V6 Turbo, is equipped with the 2,458 cm3 V6 offering 200 bhp (250 km/h). The bodywork of the two versions is very similar, and the only difference between the two cars is the specific white and red "V6 Turbo" marking on the rear window and the wheels (finned for the Turbo). The two models only went on sale in the autumn of 1985, six months after their presentation, and for the first year, the Turbo already had a clear commercial advantage, producing 805 cars (plus twelve pre-production models) compared to the GT's 434. By the time the car's career was over, 6,494 Alpine GTAs of all versions had been assembled at the Dieppe factory, including 1,509 GTs.

Despite the small dimensions of the V6 Turbo, the engine space remained cramped, which led to high temperatures in the cockpit. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R.

Early production 

The new Alpine V6 Turbo was designed to outperform the Porsche 944, the current benchmark for GT cars. It needed to perform better, be more equipped and demonstrate better behaviour, all at a lower cost despite a smaller production run. To ensure that the competitors taking part in the 1985 Europa Cup Championship had their cars sufficiently in advance, the V6 Turbo race version went into production in the third quarter of 1984, while production of the series production model only began the following spring. The body was identical to the series production model, but the engine cradle and anti-roll bars were reinforced, and special suspension with adjustable De Carbo shock absorbers were installed. On the mechanical side, the V6 Turbo Europa Cup was equipped with the most recent version of the PRV engine, taken from the Renault 25 V6 Turbo, to which a Renix electronic injection unit and an air-air intercooler were added.

This version of the Europa Cup was derived from the Alpine V6 GT Turbo presented at the Geneva Motor Show in February 1985, together with the naturally-aspirated GT version. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault / D.R.

Four seasons competing 

The Alpine V6 Turbo Europa Cup made its debut on the track when the first season kicked off at Imola on 5 May 1985 with the San Marino Grand Prix. Among the 26 entries were 6 French drivers, including Joël Gouhier, who was at the forefront throughout the season and finished 2nd in the championship. Gouhier was a consistent performer over the four seasons of the Europa Cup, finishing 3rd in 1986, 4th in 1987 and 5th in 1988. The 1985 championship was won by Argentine Oscar Larrauri, with 4 wins out of 10 races and 107 points. The ranking at the end of the championship is based on the best results of the season, minus the two worst, plus the points awarded in the final (held in Vallelunga in 1985). Points were awarded on the basis of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for each race, with 1 bonus point for the best lap. In 1986, the championship was won by Massimo Sigala with 3 victories and 107 points. The Italian won the following two titles, with 126 points and 6 wins in 1987, and 113 points and 5 wins in 1988. The next year, the Alpine V6 Turbo made way for the Renault 21 Turbo.

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The historic V6

The engine installed in the 1985 Alpine GTA, whether naturally-aspirated or turbocharged, as in the Europa Cup version, is the V6 PRV. The block is open at 90°. It was first used by the Dieppe-based manufacturer in the second generation of the A310 model launched in 1976, in its type 112-730 2,664 cm3 version derived from the Renault 30 TS. It was designed in 1971, by a collaboration between Peugeot, Renault and Volvo, hence its name. Originally designed with a V8 engine, its dimensions were reduced during the oil crisis. Paradoxically, this meant that it was more compact and could be installed in all possible positions (longitudinal, transversal, central and rear overhang). Combined with the extensive use of alloys in its construction, this has made it extremely light, particularly appreciated by sports and top-of-the-range models. Produced in 970,315 units up until 1998, the PRV underwent numerous evolutions and was fitted on many prestigious models such as the Alpine A610, the MVS Venturi and the De Lorean. The PRV also made its mark in competition with manufacturers such as WM, setting the absolute speed record on the Le Mans circuit in 1988: 405 km/h (Roger Dorchy on WM P88)!

The V6 Turbo PRV engine, pictured here in its 2,458 cm3 Z7U configuration, delivers 280 bhp at 5,500 rpm with max torque of 34 mkg at 4,500 rpm. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Winners of the Europa Cup

The Renault Elf Europa Cup Championship was won by two drivers at the wheel of an Alpine V6 Turbo: Argentina's Oscar Larrauri in 1985, and Italy's Massimo Sigala between 1986 and 1988. Larrauri was European F3 Champion in 1982 before competing in endurance racing in a Porsche 956/962 from the Swiss Brun Motorsport team. His best results in this discipline were a 2nd place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1987. In that year, he finished 7th in the World Championship, as he did in 1989. With Eurobrun Racing, he also raced in F1 in 1988 and 1989, but without success. Larrauri was also South American Supertouring Champion in 1997, 1998 and 2000. The career of Massimo Sigala kicked off in 1976 with the Alpine R5 Europa Cup. After three consecutive Europa Cup titles with the Alpine GTA, he won the Renault 21 Turbo Europa Cup in 1989 and 1990. He finished second in endurance racing at the 1987 Daytona 24 Hours (with Larrauri) and third at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1991 and 1992 (with Larrauri).

With a combined total of 20 victories, Oscar Larrauri and Massimo Sigala dominated the Europa Cup from 1985 to 1988. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Legeay Sports

During the four seasons (1985-1988) of the Europa Cup Championship, the Alpine V6 Turbo was the sole model used. Most of them were tuned by Legeay Sports, the undisputed French specialist in the tuning and maintenance of these cars at the time. Based in Téloché, near Le Mans, the workshop, founded in 1980 by Patrick Legeay, established a solid reputation over the years for preparing Renault racing cars. Its results in the R5 Alpine Cup, the R5 Turbo European Cup, the Clio Eurocup, the Renault 21 Turbo Europa Cup and the Clio French Cup made the company one of the leading Renault-Sports approved tuners of the 1980s and 1990s. In 1994, Legeay Sports aligned a semi-official 430bhp Alpine A610 Biturbo at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it achieved an honourable 13th place (5th in the GT2 category). After the (temporary) disappearance of Alpine in 1995, Patrick Legeay switched to preparing Renault Sport Spiders.

The Alpine V6 Turbo Europa Cup was produced in a total of 69 units between 1984 and 1987. Most of them were tuned at Legeay Sports in Le Mans.© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Designed for racing

The origins of the Alpine V6 Turbo, and its sports version for the Europa Cup, can be traced back to the Dieppe-based manufacturer's extensive racing experience. Most of the bodywork and chassis components are assembled using construction techniques common in racing and even in the aerospace industry. They contribute to the car's exceptional lightness and robustness, and ensure remarkable reliability. The assembly procedure involves detailed verification at every stage of the car's construction. The aerodynamic design of the bodywork has been particularly well thought out, with an SCx of 0.48, one of the best in the world for a (small) production car. The cockpit offers an optimum driving position thanks to an exemplary ergonomic layout for the various controls and full instrumentation.

The engine's rear overhang position provides a good weight balance (40% front and 60% rear) and an extremely low centre of gravity. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections


Parallel to the Europa Cup championship, the Alpine GTA took part in the French Production Championship in 1986. A V6 GT (naturally-aspirated) was entered on the initiative of Alain Serpaggi, Alpine's test driver, with the indirect support of the Seine-Maritime General Council, Elf and Renault's sales department. The modification of the car was entrusted to ÉDAC (Études et Développement Automobiles de Compétition), an association made up of former members of the Alpine and Renault-Sport racing departments. The 2.5-litre PRV Z6W engine was initially developed by the SOMOCAR team based in Elbeuf near Rouen, followed by the Bozian brothers, based in the Lyon region, who were able to produce 340 bhp and a top speed of 235 kph. Although the GTA had potential, Alain Serpaggi found it hard to compete with the powerful R5 Turbo 2s, BMW M5s, Mercedes 190s, Peugeot 505 Turbos and Audi 200 Quattros. The best results for Serpaggi that season were 5th at Charade and 6th at Rouen, but the project was not renewed until 1987.


Engine: GRP (Z7U type), 6-cylinder, 90° V arrangement, rear overhang, longitudinal 

• Displacement: 2,458 cm3 

• Bore x stroke: 91 mm x 63 mm 

• Power: 280 bhp at 5,500 rpm 

• Fuel supply: Renix electronic fuel injection and Garrett T3 turbocharger 

• Ignition: full electronic management 

• Timing: single overhead camshaft per bank, 2 overhead valves per cylinder 

• Transmission: UN1 type, rear wheel drive, 5-speed gearbox + M.A. 

 Tyres: Michelin MXW, 195/50 VR 15 (front) and 255/45 VR 15 (rear) 

• Brakes: Girling ventilated discs (diameter 280 mm) on all 4 wheels 

• Length: 4330 mm 

 Width: 1750 mm 

• Height: 1190 mm 

• Wheelbase: 2340 mm 

• Front track: 1493 mm 

• Rear track: 1462 mm 

• Weight (empty): 1,000 kg 

 Maximum speed: 270 km/h

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