If you want to announce an all-new model, doing so while also confirming a new Nurburgring lap record is quite a showy way to do it.
That’s exactly what Renault has just done with its new Megane RS Trophy R, which is now the Nurburgring’s fastest ever front-wheel drive production car. Although given numerous Nordschleife spots over the last few months, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
The ultra-focused version of the standard Megane RS300 Trophy took 7min and 40.1 seconds to lap the Green Hell, compared to 7min 43.8 for the previous record holder, the Honda Civic Type R. Renault has also posted the Trophy R’s time for the full 20.832km lap of the Nordschleife (the 07:40 was, like most publicised ‘Ring times, recorded over 20.6km), which was 07:45.38. Laurent Hurgon, who has clocked FWD ‘Ring records for Renault Sport in the past, was behind the wheel for the effort this time around too.
It’s worth pointing out that track improvements since Honda’s run with the Civic have made the Nordschleife a little faster. Also, unlike the Type R, the Trophy-R is a limited-run special. Then again, Honda sent the Type R out on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, tyres which you can’t have fitted to the car from the factory. Like many Nurburgring records, then, it’s one that’ll generate plenty of debate.
As for the Trophy-R itself, Renault hasn’t revealed a huge amount about the new ‘Ring machine as of yet. For now, the French manufacturer has revealed that it’s been on a crash diet and lost a whopping 130kg and that it’s had a few aero tweaks.
Engineers have treated the car to “a more radical development of its drive axles,” and although we initially suspected Renault might have fitted some sticky semi-slicks, it turns out the Trophy-R uses the same Bridgestone Potenza S007s that are optional on the 300 Trophy.
Expect a proper debut for the car in a few weeks. Before that, the Trophy-R will be seen bimbling around Monaco “on the fringes of the Formula One Grand Prix” with Renault F1 pilots Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg taking turns on driving duties.