Renault has already conquered the iconic Nurburgring circuit in Germany and Suzuka in Japan, and now the French carmaker is turning its attention to Melbourne’s Albert Park street circuit.
The Megane RS 275 Trophy-R, which arrived in Australian showrooms in December, holds the lap record for front-wheel-drive production cars at Suzuka and did hold the same record at the Nurburgring before today's announcement (see here).
No such record currently exists for a production car around Albert Park, which serves as a public road for much of the year when the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix event isn’t in progress.
But that’s about to change. Renault and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation are teaming up to ensure our local F1 track has a lap record for - in this case - FWD production cars under 2.0 litres.
As the first ever 'lap-record run', the Megane need only complete one lap of the track to etch its name in the history books (it could poke around in reverse and still take the title). But you can bet F1 driver Daniil Kvyat won’t be taking it easy.
At Kvyat’s disposal will be a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 201kW and 360Nm, in a hot hatch so focused on weight reduction that Renault removed the rear seats (they aren’t optional).
Other weight-reduction tricks include a smaller lithium-ion battery for a 16kg saving, and the deletion of creature comforts like air-con, radio and dash display have also resulted in another 10kg saving.
The result of these efforts and others is a Megane weighing 1280kg.
“Our Renault Sport brand is renowned for its dominance on race tracks around the globe and we’re confident that we’ll set a cracking time for this new lap record,” Renault Australia Managing Director, Justin Hocevar, said.
With an allocation of 50 examples from a production run of just 250, Australia is the second-largest market for the limited edition Megane RS 275 Trophy-R.
Eleven of those were spoken for almost as soon as the model arrived, and Renault has not revealed how many remain.
As the lap record car will be one of those still looking for a home, the new owner can be assured their pride and joy has been driven ‘one weekend only’, gently run-in by an F1 driver…
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