Alfa Romeo has been the title sponsor of Sauber's Formula 1 team since 2019. With that team becoming Audi's factory outlet in in 2026, the rival manufacturer is stepping away this offseason. That leaves the Italian brand with a motorsports budget and no race cars, an exciting position that creates an opportunity to do something more interesting. According to Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato, the next step for Alfa will likely lead it to the World Endurance Championship.
In a Sunday conversation with Motorsport, Imparato revealed that the brand is already considering ways to enter the European sports car series in the near future. Additionally, he claims that a long-rumored tie-up with Haas that would have been similar to the brand's deal with Sauber fell apart because the brand was no longer interested in a "copy-paste operation" where Alfa Romeo's part in the team is limited mostly to supplying the livery. With no reasonable path to create a full-on works F1 team in the near future, two Stellantis brands in Formula E already, and too little of an Alfa Romeo footprint in North America for an IMSA, NASCAR, or IndyCar-focused program to make all that much sense, that leaves the WEC as the only top-level series that fits the brand's goals moving forward.
Since Alfa Romeo does not already make a GT3 car and the series now only allows for entries from GT and Hypercar competitors, the brand's most likely avenue to the WEC is an entry in the top-level Hypercar class. One Stellantis brand, Peugeot, already competes in that class with the spectacular but winless 9X8. Alfa Romeo's options include simply providing their own branding to additional 9X8s with a new badge, but a tie-up with Peugeot could also see the brand modify the existing car to build a more unique Alfa Romeo as Bentley did when it ran an Audi R8-based prototype as the Le Mans-winning Speed 8.
Porsche and Audi developed a similar to run new cars sharing components in 2023, but Audi ultimately dropped out of the program and left Porsche to race alone with its 963. Lamborghini, a third Volkswagen-owned brand, then announced plans to develop a completely unique car and plans to begin racing its unrelated SC 63 next season. Alfa Romeo could also choose this route, developing a new car to either the LMH or LMDh rule sets. This would give Stellantis two different shots at the overall win at Le Mans, but it would make collaboration between its programs much more difficult.
If any of these plans get off the ground, the program that follows would represent Alfa Romeo's first factory-backed effort at Le Mans since the 1970s. Any car built to Le Mans Hypercar specifications would also be eligible to race in IMSA, opening up the possibility that Alfa Romeo also returns to the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. It is an intriguing possibility, but one that will have to wait for official confirmation of a WEC program.
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