I recently had one of those pinch-yourself career highlight kind of days that involved an invite from Renault to be whisked out to Monaco, flown in a helicopter and driven around the legendary F1 circuit by a depressed Australian.
The car I’d get to experience was the new Renault Megane RS Trophy R, aka the fastest FWD production car around the Nurburgring with a time of 7min and 40.1 sec. The previous record holder - the Honda Civic Type R - clocked 7min 43.8 sec a while ago.
The Australian who’d be driving me around would be none other than ‘no filter’ Daniel Ricciardo; as you’ll have seen in the video below, he’s as funny, charismatic, and witty as I hoped, although a few commenters with the intelligence of a Love Island contestant have mistaken his wit as rudeness; trust me when I say this is not the case.
Anyway, this little write up isn’t about my blossoming relationship with my new BFF, it’s more an unofficial love letter to the Megane RS Trophy R. Because trust me when I say it’s worthy of the hype.
That’s because the massive carbon rear diffuser, the swept down Akrapovic exhaust which aids in aero, the carbon bonnet, carbon wheels and carbon ceramic brake discs that are the size of Hafþór Björnsson’s dinner plates give you a good idea that the RS team have turned up the wick. But only when you experience such a thing first hand can you appreciate the work and finessing that’s gone into making a world-beater.
The things that stick with me more than anything are the brakes and the grip. Despite Ricciardo having never driven the car, it was clear how quickly he felt at home.
From the passenger seat, this translates into a wobbly mess whose brain simply can’t comprehend the braking and cornering G-forces…and all of this in a road car. Through hairpins, the Bridgestone tyres dig in, while the R’s mechanical limited-slip diff helps wrap the car around each corner with determination.
While acceleration didn’t blow me away - power and straight line speed is not the key to the R’s triumphs - I could really feel the lightness; RS has shaved 130kg from the car thanks to the removal of the rear seats and extensive use of carbonfibre, meaning it’s a car that can be thrown around and slowed down with violent force.
Despite a fairly brief with the R, then, I was mighty impressed with its dexterity and determination, and can’t wait to give this thing a go myself. Hopefully next time I won’t worry about seeing my breakfast again too, which is always useful…