The Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R has reclaimed the title of the fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nurburgring for the French brand, with the just-released limited edition two-seater setting a 7:54.36 time around the iconic German racetrack.
Although unashamedly hardcore in order to outgun the Seat Leon Cupra – which in March posted a record 7:58 lap to eclipse previous record-holder Renault Megane RS265 Trophy by 10 seconds – the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R is completely street legal.
Just 250 examples of the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R will be built worldwide, a staggering 50 of which are destined for Australia in December where it will become the most expensive Renault ever sold locally (and take the brand beyond the luxury car tax threshold for the first time) priced at around $65,000. It will be priced around $10,000 more expensive than the regular RS275 Trophy that will arrive first in September, which will in turn be dearer than the facelifted Megane RS265 range which goes on sale in June.
Adding to the regular RS275 Trophy’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (with 275hp or 201kW) and Cup chassis, the RS275 Trophy-R adds a titanium Akrapovic exhaust, Ohlins Road&Track adjustable dampers (manually adjustable with 20 steps front, 30 steps rear), Allevard composite front springs, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
About 101 kilograms have been subtracted from the RS275 Trophy, with the rear seat removed (saving 23kg, replaced with a strut brace and luggage net that can hold four wheels) and front Recaro Pole Position polycarbonate monocoque buckets installed that save a further 42kg.
The exhaust removes 4kg, reduced rear insulation a further 18kg, and the removal of air-conditioning, radio and a multimedia screen saves 10kg (though Renault Australia will offer these as standard, but available as a delete option).
Using a lithium-ion battery, meanwhile, trims a further 16kg, while a special braking kit with 350mm (up 10mm) steel and aluminium disc brakes helps weight fall by 3kg. Both of those features found on the RS275 Trophy-R that performed the record ‘ring time will, however, be optional. Total kerb weight for the RS275 Trophy-R is 1280kg.
While a regular three-point seatbelt is standard, a six-point racing harness with aviation-style buckle is also optional - but not for road use. Red seat stitching matches that of the Alcantara-clad steering wheel and handbrake lever shared with the regular RS275 Trophy.
A pearlescent white colour with black roof, or full black hue, will be available in the RS275 Trophy-R. All in red are a front splitter with Trophy-R applique, chequered flag graphic at the bottom of the front doors and horizontal on the side of the car, while buyers can choose between red or black 19-inch Speedline Turini alloy wheels (that save 5kg over the regular RS275).
Unlike the 2008 Megane R26.R, the Megane RS275 Trophy-R retains its full suite of six airbags, though it misses a carbonfibre bonnet (like the R26.R had) as Renault Sport says the current Megane’s bonnet is too complex in shape to use the lightweight material.
Renault Sport claims a 5.8 second 0-100km/h for the Megane RS275 Trophy-R, 25.1 seconds over 1000m, and fuel consumption of 7.5L/100km.
Following the fastest front-wheel-drive record set at the fearsome 20.83-kilometre Nurburgring Nordschliefe (or north loop) in 2008 with the Megane R26.R, Renault Sport returned in 2011 to increase its lead with the Megane RS265 which sold locally in 8:08 limited edition guise. Following the title snatch by Seat in March, Renault Sport had released a #Under8 social media campaign, vowing to reclaim its title.
The new record was set with the same driver used in 2011, Laurent Hurgon (above), who Renault Sport said required only two of the three allocated track sessions to achieve the time. The time was achieved on May 15th
2014, with some slippery conditions, though Hurgon said of the chance to do an even quicker time: “Nurburgring is a place you can always go quicker. You can be better, but you can also be worse”.
Hurgon nudged the Megane’s 254km/h top speed, averaging 158km/h.
Renault Sport insists the Seat time did not change its approach, however, stating that this program development was ongoing for 18 months prior to this record preparation.
“It’s got nothing to do with them,” said Renault Sport sales and communications director Regis Fricotte. “We started this project a year and a half ago, the Seat thing came three months ago … It didn’t change our perspective, our plans”.