The new Renault Megane RS Trophy-R has been spied running at the Nurburgring in completely undisguised form.
The film, caught by Talea Media, shows the car running behind a camera car, suggesting it is set to be launched imminently and promotional footage is being gathered, as well as being driven at greater speeds.
Previously it has only been spied testing in disguised prototype form.
It is not yet known if the car will feature a more highly-tuned engine than the 1.8-litre unit in the Megane RS Trophy, which produces 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque, giving it a 0-62mph time of 5.7sec and a top speed of 161mph, or if it will retain that unit and achieve its performance advances - aimed at breaking the front-wheel drive record for the Nurburgring - through extreme weight-saving measures, as with the last generation Megane RS Trophy-R.
This seemingly production-ready car in the video features a distinctive front bumper arrangement, with the distinctive chequered flag shaped RS Vision lighting system removed, with the remaining bodywork likely sculpted to boost airflow, a black bonnet scoop, again aimed at boosting airflow to the engine, Trophy-R graphics, low profile high-performance tyres and uprated brakes, mst noticeably at the front. The car also likely has uprated, race-derived springs and dampers. Supplier names visible on decals on the car are Ohlins, Akrapovic, Bridgestone, Sabelt and Brembo.
Test insiders also reported the car had no rear seats and a rollcage - both features of previous generation cars for weight-saving and safety and chassis stiffness respectively - and plexiglass windows. Highlighting the extreme weight-saving measures RS engineers have gone to, no rear windscreen wiper is visible in the pictures. The previous generation Trophy R was 101kg lighter than the standard RS 275 Trophy, weighing 1280kg.
The Megane RS Trophy-R has traditionally been launched at the end of the car’s lifecycle, but the timing of this film suggests that Renault is seeking to use publicity from the car to highlight the rest of its range earlier than before. The white colour scheme with red decals is in keeping with the same colours used to launch the R26.R and 275 Trophy-R.
In the past sales numbers have been extremely limited for Trophy-R models. Although sales of Renault RS products have traditionally been strong in the UK, it is likely only a small allocation of cars will be sold to UK buyers, with deliveries expected at the tailend of 2019.
This exclusivity also means it is likely to be at least £10,000 more than the Renault Mégane RS Trophy, which starts at £31,890.