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Losange Passion International is a paradise for Renault Alpine enthusiasts

Losange Passion International is a paradise for Renault Alpine enthusiasts

WORDS: WAYNE BATTY | PHOTOS: RENAULT CLASSIC AND AUTHOR

The seventh edition of Losange Passion International was exactly as announced: France’s biggest celebration of the Renault and Alpine brands. Held on June 29, 2024 at the awe-inspiring 100-year-old Autodrome UTAC Linas-Montlhéryand organised by the Club des Amateurs d’anciennes Renaults, the event had over 850 cars on display at the terrifyingly high oval track. It was a fitting tribute to Renault’s 125th anniversary.

The various exhibits cover just about every Renault ever made, from the Type A voiturette to the 2002 Avantime, plus every Renault Sport and Alpine A110 model. The chance to see multiple examples of the 6 CV, Celtaquatre, Torino, Floride, Caravelle, Fuego and every Renault ‘numbers car’ from 4 to 30 all in one place is a rare one.

Although Losange Passion International is a predominantly French event, as evidenced by the number of food trucks spitting out mountains of fries doused in mayonnaise, Dutch, South African and English accents are spoken (both from across the Channel and from the Mediterranean). And the Atlantic) was heard among the approximately 5,000 diamond brand enthusiasts present. Reactions such as: “Wow, Recaros And a sliding roof. That’s rare!” suggested that these were dedicated fans.

Renault’s history in North America has always been complicated and not usually very successful. So it was great to see examples of the Renault-AMC partnership models, the Alliance, Medallion and Premier, alongside some of Renault’s better automotive moments in the form of the purposeful ex-Michel Leclere R8 Gordini and the more menacing R5 Turbo Europa Cup and Maxi rally cars.

These three were part of a larger selection of Renault factory collection cars, which highlighted aspects of the marque’s long-standing involvement in motorsport and its historic pursuit of speed records. This year, the line-up of French Racing Blue record-breaking cars included a recently completed Renault Classic workshop project – the 1934 Celtaquatre 48-hour record-breaking car, along with the imposing 1926 40CV and 1934 Nervasport, the most elegant Etoile Filante and the brutalist Tank Riffard.

Renault’s 2023 electric fantasy flight, Mute the Hot Rod, continued to draw admiring glances (when spotted), its relative quiet contrasting with the aural onslaught of the Alain Serpaggi-driven Renault Alpine A443. Alain was guest of honour at the event, which featured a special exhibition commemorating 50 years since his title-winning run for the team in the European Sports Prototype Championship.

1974 European Sports Car Champion Alain Serpaggi prepares to take to the track in the Renault Alpine A443.

Other EV displays included the brand new Renault 5 E-Tech in launch yellow and its Alpine white sibling the A290. Both efforts have strong visual appeal, but it’s the purer 5 that gets my vote.

Renault also surprised visitors by bringing along their R5 Turbo 3E all-electric concept car in an all-new corporate yellow, black and white livery. They were then treated to a dynamic drift display, accompanied by engine howls, tyre screeches and clouds of white smoke.

As usual, the day ended with a grand parade, with all the participating vehicles driving onto the circuit and racing over the legendary concrete sections. A popular and fitting tribute that concluded a great day celebrating Renault’s milestone year.

The region’s automotive festivities don’t end there, however, as the Autodrome UTAC Linas-Montlhéry will once again be the place to be on October 12-13, 2024, when the circuit celebrates its 100th anniversary with a special two-day event promising a full spectrum of automotive action. More information about the event can be found here.