Renault has reclaimed the Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel drive cars with a new limited edition Renaultsport Megane RS 275 Trophy-R.
This 275hp lightweight special scorched to a new best time of 7 minutes 54.36 seconds, usefully outpacing the SEAT Leon Cupra 280’s recent 7 minutes 58.4 seconds effort.
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Setting a quick time around the demanding 13-mile circuit is a significant badge of honour for hot hatch manufacturers, and to go as quickly as Renault has here requires some extreme performance measures. The RS 275 Trophy-R is by no means a run-of-the-mill machine.
For starters, based on the existing Cup chassis with limited slip differential, Renaultsport has stripped no less than 101kg of weight out of the car – bringing it down from 1,381kg to 1,280 – as well as adding a number of highly specialised components.
These range from a set of custom Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres through to an Akrapovic exhaust system made out of titanium (making it 4kg lighter) and Ohlins “Road&Track” adjustable dampers complete with (insanely cutting edge) composite springs on the front.
The engine, meanwhile, is a new 275hp version of the Megane Renaultsport’s customary 2.0-litre turbo, 10hp stronger than before. Helping it stop, the Trophy-R also gets enlarged steel and aluminium brake discs, which contribute a 3kg weight saving, too.
It’s the inside where the weight really falls off – starting with the Trophy-R having only two seats. Which just happen to be polycarbonate Recaros that are a massive 22kg lighter than those fitted as standard. A motorsport-style lithium-ion battery saves 16kg.
Other unique interior details include an Alcantara steering wheel, the absence of air conditioning, no stereo, and a boot layout that will accommodate four spare wheels. It really is aimed squarely at track day junkies.
On the outside there’s a black roof, (optional) pearlescent white paint, and “Vif” red graphics and detailing. The 19-inch Speedline wheels are finished in a choice of red or black, just to complete the motorsport look. The rear windscreen wiper has been removed as another weight saving.
It is an astonishingly focused car – and some 14 seconds quicker round the ’ring than the last Renault record holder, the 2011 Megane RS Trophy. It’s also the spiritual successor to the previous generation Megane R26.R, which also set a fastest lap in its time.
You will really have to want one rather badly, though, as Renault is charging £36,430 for the privilege of buying one of the 30 Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-Rs coming to the UK. The entire production run is limited to just 250 cars.
The Renault Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R makes its public debut at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it will be driven in anger up Lord March’s famous driveway by none other than new Nurburgring lap record setter, Laurent Hurgon.