Renault has broken the lap record for front-wheel drive production cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R, eclipsing Seat's previous record by some four seconds.
The Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 271bhp and 266lb ft as the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy, but is almost 100kg lighter than the 1381kg base car and features many chassis enhancements.
Laurent Hurgon, the Renault Sport Technologies test driver, recently used a version of the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R to wrest the Nordschleife standard for front-wheel-drive cars back from Seat. Hurgon's best effort of 7min 54.3sec, achieved early in the morning of 15 May, eclipsed the 7min 58.4sec set by a Seat Leon Cupra 280 back in March.
The Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R is based on Renault's Cup chassis, which features a mechanical limited slip differential. The car has adjustable Öhlins Road&Track dampers, and Allevard composite suspension springs are fitted at the front.
Drivers can adjust the dampers through 20 positions at the front and 30 at the rear, using a knob on the lower part of the instrument cluster. The body height and attitude of Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R can also be varied by adjusting the compression of the composite springs.
To support inexperienced track drivers, online tutorials and set-up sheets will be available on the Renaultsport website.
The Renaultsport engineers removed most of the insulating and sound-absorbing materials from the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R to save 18kg. The rear seat is also jettisoned, cutting a further 20kg, and replaced with a cross-strut bar.
A further 10kg has been saved by removing the air conditioning and radio and fitting a simplified central console. Recaro bucket seats, which are single-piece polycarbonate units upholstered in leather and alcantara, trim 22kg.
A titanium Akrapovič exhaust with a carbonfibre tailpipe trim cuts another 4kg from the weight, while the removal of the rear windscreen wiper saves a further kilogramme.
The Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R wears Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, marking the first time the rubber has been offered as standard on a front-wheel drive car. The tyres are mounted on 19in Speedline Turini wheels, which reduce the unsprung weight by 5kg compared to the standard Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy.
A range of further optional extras are available to bring the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R up to the equivalent level of performance as the Nürburgring record-lap version.
A performance braking kit is available. It comprises larger discs – with a diameter of 350mm, up from the standard 340mm – mounted on aluminium bowls. Using aluminium reduces the unsprung mass by 3kg, while the use of wider discs leads to a 100°C reduction in the operating temperature. Renaultsport says the result on the circuit is "greater consistency and heightened pedal feel".
Another option is a lithium-ion battery in place of the standard lead battery, which brings with it a 16kg weight reduction.
A 'Nürburgring Pack', comprising the Performance braking kit, lithium-ion battery, two Sabelt safety harnesses, four spare wheel covers and a retaining strap, is available as an option.
Thirty examples of the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R are allocated to the UK at an on-the-road price of £36,430. The car is available for order from today, with first deliveries in November. The previously revealed Trophy version will cost £28,930.