Everyone, regardless of profession, should endeavor to practice their skills outside of the daily grind. Even more so if your job depends on being creative. As human beings, we thrive on knowledge and learning and, as designers, practicing and creating personal projects provides an outlet to develop something without constraints; something to push your own limits of creativity. Designer Arseny Kostromin did exactly that with his Alpine GTA personal design study.
Before Renault announced that its Renault F1 Team would be renamed Alpine and begin competing in the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, designer Arseny Kostromin – who counts Renault, Volkswagen, Genesis and Koenigsegg amongst his prior work experiences – had already envisioned a project that could come to fruition if the Alpine F1 racing team’s engineering expertise were combined with Alpine’s design heritage.
The Alpine GTA project highlights the modern design process and was built entirely in 3D using a unique multi-span technique in Autodesk Alias. This enabled the best possible surface and design quality. Kostromin created the exterior, interior, engineering, and monocoque study using the software.
“This project highlights the ambitions of my freshly opened design studio [Arseny Kostromin Design] in Berlin to tackle most complex automotive design projects,” says Kostromin. “I lead projects from initial doodles all the way to high-quality pre-feasibility 3D models. It’s a fast process that helps skip the traditional [and extremely expensive] clay modeling phase.”
The Alpine GTA clearly takes inspiration from the heyday of Alpine cars, when designer Giovanni Michelotti penned the A110. It’s a contemporary look at the Alpine sports prototype concept that references the iconic model. Measuring 4115mm long, 1826mm wide and 1100mm tall, the concept incorporates the classic proportions of the rear engine Berlinette – its design language is simple and pure with minimal lines to define the architecture of the car. And the detail to which Kostromin completed the project is simply outstanding.
The GTA’s exterior is modern yet immediately recognizable as an Alpine. Starting from its proportions to the smallest details, every element captures the stance, drama and athleticism of a modern sports car brand. It combines a sculptural design language with hi-tech materials and technologies with the efficiency of size, shape and profile that marked the original A110 Berlinette. The reference is clear in the roofline and backlight.
At the front, two round daytime running lights and a central ‘spine’ on the hood clearly show Alpine’s DNA. The central spine connects the headlamp with a clean and precise character line that creates a visual connection and strength to the front end while simultaneously lending it a friendly, understated look. Only the carbon fiber splitter and dominant radiator opening highlight its performance ambitions.
The profile is dominated by the iconic, simple yet masculine volumes that provide visual dynamism to the body while also emphasizing its stance. The aerodynamic body, placed on top of the functional aerodynamic floor and diffusor visually splits the car into two parts, reducing its perceived height. The 245/30 R18 front and 315/30 R19 rear wheels are pushed far into the fender lips, further accentuating the car’s purposeful stance.
The rear is defined by an aerodynamic cut-off surface that houses the flying taillight elements. Its structure emphasizes the muscles of the rear haunch. Though the diffusor is “compromised” by the rear-engine layout, Kostromin says he compensated for the lack of downforce by adding a large profile wing. This is underscored by an Akrapovic titanium exhaust that dominates the upper diffusor area, exposing the high-performance tech hidden underneath the car’s external skin.
The GTA project is based on the principles of efficient and lightweight construction. To support this, Kostromin built the project from the inside out, starting from the ideal driver position and developing the packaging of every technical component. The extremely low and narrow driver position allows for a compact cabin layout, while the carbon fiber monocoque guarantees a lightweight and rigid architecture.
The visual lightness of the exterior structure continues into the interior design, which consists of a wraparound design theme. The IP merges with the door panels and creates the visual structure of the interior while body color door panel inserts emerging from the air vents gives the impression of falling backward. This special feature is directly reminiscent of the spirit of the original A110.
Butterfly doors and a removable steering wheel allows easy access into interior, where bucket seats and 5-point seatbelts provide optimum support for racing and enhance safety.
The simple, floating dashboard holds the instrument console modules and steering shaft, continuing the lightweight theme. Clearly driver-oriented, Kostromin chose to employ raw carbon fiber and black leather trim to avoid driver distraction.
“My focus was to keep it as mechanical as possible and emphasize the connection with driving,” says the designer.
The interior is filled with lightweight elements, such as a gearbox shifter milled from a solid block of aluminum, minimalistic steering wheel and the iconic, analog instrument cluster. Key switches nested within the steering wheel enable the driver to control and fine-tune the handling characteristics of the car. The driver can change the engine mapping, adjust the brake balance in each corner, and monitor lap settings.
A carbon fiber center stack — cantilevered towards the driver and hanging off the large control dials on the IP — houses the ignition starter button, master cut-off switch and rotary ABS control, wipers and fan settings switches.
Kostromin proposes the car would be fitted with an air-cooled flat six-cylinder engine built by Gordini, which produces 500hp and has an incredible sound quality.
The Alpine GTA project is a very well-resolved independent project that took roughly three months to complete. Given the fact that Kostromin effectively created four projects during that period, I’d say that’s nothing short of remarkable.
“Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Alpine sports prototype concept was both an ambitious and complex undertaking,” Kostromin says of the project. “It is one of the first successful attempts for me to build a complete car, making this project a milestone in my professional experience.”
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