Alpine-mule-1

We haven’t put a wrong title on; what you see here really is the Alpine-Caterham lightweight sports car project caught field-testing. There isn’t a recent Alpine or Caterham body that’s suitable to use for the test mule, so an old Lotus Exige skin will do.

What gave its identity away, you ask? For starters, it’s running on French plates, and our European spy photographers CarPix said that an entourage of Renault Sport models escorted the test mule around the track. It looks to be an early prototype test to see how the mechanical package stacks up.

Nothing much to comment on the car seen here, other than its heavily blistered wheelarches hiding a much wider chassis on the final production car. What we do know of the upcoming model is that it will be a lightweight, mid-engined sports car in the mould of the classic Alpine A110 from the Sixties, which last year’s A110-50 Concept paid homage to.

In modern terms it’ll be closer to the Alfa Romeo 4C rather than the Mazda MX-5 in terms of character and price. Co-developed with Caterham, the Renault-owned Alpine will be built in Dieppe, France – the same base where the brand built its World Rally Championship-winning legacy in.