Jean Rédélé

Jean Rédélé

17/5/1922 - 10/8/2007

Founder of the Alpine company, he won a number of races before concentrating on building and running his company that eventually became the competition department of Renault.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">Born in Dieppe, Northern France, Redele was the son of the local Renault dealer. Rédélé was earmarked for a career in politics after he passed his engineering degree at the Hautes Études Commerciales. However after World War II, he joined his father's business. It was a difficult time, the garage was in ruins following an Allied raid on the town, but with his mechanical skills he kept the business afloat. He evntually took over the business and was at one time the youngest Renault dealer in France.

In order to promote the business he started racing a Renault 4CV which he modified for competition.

By 1952 he had set up a conversion business which he called Automobiles Alpine. He chose the name as he felt it represented the pleasure of driving on mountain roads. That year he scored his first international success with victory in the 750cc Sports Car class driving a Renault 4CV in the Mille Miglia with Louis Pons.

He raced in the Mille Miglia in 1953 again with Pons and took another class win in 1954, this time in the 750cc Touring Car class.

He build his own prototype in 1955 based on a Renault 4CV frame. In 1955, Working with the Chappe brothers he produced a produced a small coupe called the A106. It used the platform chassis from the original Renault 4CV with fibergalss bodywork by Michelotti. The A106 achieved a number of successes during the 1950s and was joined.

The success of the Alpine Renaults in the late 1950s and early 1960s encouraged Renault to return to competition after a number of years away.

In 1962 the factory produced one of their most famous cars, the Alpine A110. The car was based on the Renault R8 but used a tubular backbone chassis with sporting glassfibre bodywork.

Alpine turned its attention to single-seaters in 1964, and built a Renault-engined Formula 3 car, designed by Marcel Hubert and Ron Tauranac. An Alpine won the inaugural French F3 Championship with Henry Grandsire and cars were also built for Formula 2.

In 1971 an Alpine won the Monte Carlo Rally with Ove Andersson and Patrick Depailler won the French F3 title. It was alsothe year that the company started to look at sports car racing its attention to sports car racing.

Alpine was taken over by Renault in 1974 but continued to enjoy success in rallying and racing, taking victory in the European Formula 2 Championship with Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving an Elf-badged car.

Renault then commissioned Alpine to design a Formula 1 prototype chassis. Andre de Cortanze built the Alpine A500 which was used for Renault's F1 testing program prior to their entry into F1 in 1977.

At the end of 1976, the Alpine works in Dieppe were closed down and the staff moved to the new Renault Sport headquarters at Viry Chatillon. The Alpine name lived on in sportscar racing until 1978 when Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi won Le Mans.

Redele left the firm in 1978.

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