Renault has officially announced that its RS (Renault Sport) division is no more and that the performance mantle will be taken over by the Alpine marque with the eventual aim of becoming an electric only brand.
The iconic marque, revived four years ago with the retro-styled A110, has already staked its performance claim within Renault after Boulogne-Billancourt revealed at the beginning of this year that it would rebrand its Formula 1 team as Alpine along with any other motorsport activities.
“As part of the reorganisation of the Renault Group by brand, it is essential that the various entities that make up the Business Unit bear the Alpine name and embody the values and ambitions of the brand,” Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said in a statement.
“Alpine aims to be a premium sports brand at the forefront of innovation and technology. Alpine Cars with its expertise and experience in sports vehicles is a master card in achieving our goals”.
Despite being mainly associated with the A110 that become the first car to win the inaugural season of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 1973, the Dieppe based firm reached its height in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the iconic A310 and later the A610 as well as the 5 Alpine and the 5 Alpine Turbo.
The end of the RS division, founded in 1976, brings the curtain down on almost 20 years of performance tuned versions of the Clio and Megane that originated before the turn of the century with the second generation version of the former and then in 2004 with the controversially styled second generation Megane that produced 165 kW.
“By becoming Alpine Cars, the teams are embarking on a new dynamic, rich in projects carried out with the support of the Alpine Racing teams and all of Renault Group’s businesses. This is an extremely exciting time for our engineers,” Alpine’s Director of Engineering and Product Performance Robert Bonetto said.
The change from RS to Alpine, while only announced now, officially came into effect at the beginning of this month and will therefore be applied to future models.