Spy pictures and video preview the hotter Renaultsport Mégane with which Renault aims to reclaim the front-wheel-drive ’Ring lap record
25 April 2014

Renault will attempt a sub-eight minute Nürburgring lap time in June with this hotter version of the Renaultsport Mégane 265.

This test mule was one of two caught performance testing at the Nürburgring late last week, suggesting Renault is mulling over different set-ups for the car which will bid to snatch back the lap record for a front-wheel-drive production car from Seat and its Leon Cupra 280 model.

The Leon set a new fastest time on the Nordschleife circuit of 7m58.4s last month, with an average speed of 96.8mph.

Renault has twice before held this record, most recently with the Mégane 265 at 8m7.97s, and it is looking to give the current Mégane one last hurrah before an all-new model is launched next year.

A photo posted on Renault's Facebook page last week revealed an 'Under 8' graphic, first hinting at the project. A second picture revealed the rear of a Renaultsport car with a performance exhaust system provided by Slovenian manufacturer Akrapovič.

These spy images of the mule, which did around 80 per cent of the testing at the Nürburgring last week – alongside a white model – reveal a lowered chassis, new alloy wheels, and larger brakes.

Renault named Michelin and Ohlins alongside Akrapovič in being involved in the Under 8 project, suggesting bespoke tyres, an overhauled suspension system and a performance exhaust are the chief changes to shave the more than 10.0sec needed off the Mégane 265's lap time to snatch the record back from Seat. 

Should all go to plan, the 'Ring record Mégane is expected to make production in the summer as a run-out edition for the current Mégane. A similar tactic was used by Renault with the previous RS Mégane and the R26 version.

The R26 also spawned an even more extreme, stripped-out R26.R version, but a similar tactic this time around is considered unlikely as the R26.R struggled to achieve commercial success despite breaking the front-wheel-drive 'Ring record in 2008. 

An update on the project is due on 16 June, according to Renault. 

Renault isn't the only manufacturer aiming to break records at the famous track, as competition from within the Volkswagen Group has seen a new 'Super GTI' version of the Golf take to the Nürburgring in recent weeks.

Another contender for the front-wheel-drive record is the Honda Civic Type R, although that car is still a year away from showrooms.

Peugeot is also thought to be considering a production version of its 308 R concept to better link its road car activites with its expanding motorsport portfolio, and the 'Ring record would play a key marketing role in this. 

Renault has also previewed the new model in an official video:

Additional reporting by Darren Moss, 1 May 2014

Our Verdict

Renault Megane
It's hard to make a case for any of the non-sporting Megane range

The Renault Megane looks bland, and it's not that good to drive either

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Comments
11

25 April 2014
Be interesting to see the Vauxhall VXR extreme thrown into the ring aswell. I thought the SEAT's time had been discounted aswell as they used a 'pack' which is not yet available and they had removed the AC or something along those lines.

25 April 2014
dukebox9reg wrote:
Be interesting to see the Vauxhall VXR extreme thrown into the ring aswell. I thought the SEAT's time had been discounted aswell as they used a 'pack' which is not yet available and they had removed the AC or something along those lines.
Why stop at removing the AC? May as well rip out the carpet, back seat, passenger seat, and sound system as well as ordering the driver to strip. I'm not sure there's much to be gained from securing such a record anyway.

28 April 2014
Tuatara wrote:
Why stop at removing the AC? May as well rip out the carpet, back seat, passenger seat, and sound system as well as ordering the driver to strip. I'm not sure there's much to be gained from securing such a record anyway.
It's nothing more than a marketing ploy. Average Joe won't be able to drive these kinds of cars the way a professional could and guaranteed they'd get nowhere near the lap record if they bought one and took it to the ring.

28 April 2014
It would be far better if they all got together one day and made a race out of it. By the sound of it, some of these cars are far from standard, so any resulting times mean very little other than PR benefit. Maybe the insurance companies will find the data useful in determining premiums?

28 April 2014
bobbyanderson wrote:
Tuatara wrote:
Why stop at removing the AC? May as well rip out the carpet, back seat, passenger seat, and sound system as well as ordering the driver to strip. I'm not sure there's much to be gained from securing such a record anyway.
It's nothing more than a marketing ploy. Average Joe won't be able to drive these kinds of cars the way a professional could and guaranteed they'd get nowhere near the lap record if they bought one and took it to the ring.
None of that matters. Impressionable types with money to spend, eager to boast about their new steed, will still buy the production version.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

28 April 2014
Frightmare Bob wrote:
bobbyanderson wrote:
Tuatara wrote:
Why stop at removing the AC? May as well rip out the carpet, back seat, passenger seat, and sound system as well as ordering the driver to strip. I'm not sure there's much to be gained from securing such a record anyway.
It's nothing more than a marketing ploy. Average Joe won't be able to drive these kinds of cars the way a professional could and guaranteed they'd get nowhere near the lap record if they bought one and took it to the ring.
None of that matters. Impressionable types with money to spend, eager to boast about their new steed, will still buy the production version.
Which is why its a marketing ploy

28 April 2014
This car doesnt really need any modification. Once they remove 100 kg it will beat any current record. I hope they are going that way.

ofir

28 April 2014
Didn't Honda say that they would go for the FWD record? Their board must keep signing off more power increases to the Type R!

29 April 2014
As a lover of the Ring I find it interesting that the likes of Renault, Seat etc can make a car that can go around the Ring in only 1 minute slower than a car which has 900bhp and costs nearly a million quid. Its even more amazing when you consider that these cars car do 40mpg and nip down to the shops for the shopping and pick the kids up on the way back. Autocar need to get Sutters all these potential 8 minute cars and book the ring for a couple of hours and see what each production road car will do. I think the results would be more in the 8:15-8:30 times..

2 May 2014
Wanos wrote:
Its even more amazing when you consider that these cars car do 40mpg and nip down to the shops for the shopping and pick the kids up on the way back. ..
If you can get 40mpg out of a Megane 265, or any of the current breed of turbo hatches, you're clearly not driving it in the way its makers intended. Best I've seen from my 265 was 34mpg, on a 200 mile round trip to Bristol on the M4 with zero holdups. 40mpg is a distant memory!

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