NEW RENAULT MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R: A RECORD-BREAKING RETURN | Shelbourne Motors

NEW RENAULT MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R: A RECORD-BREAKING RETURN

AT A GLANCE

  • Dramatic reduction in weight, with 130kg saved over standard Megane R.S. Trophy
  • Fastest ever front-wheel drive production car lap of the Nurburgring at 7 mins 40.1 seconds
  • Totally redesigned suspension featuring lighter, motorsport-inspired components
  • More negative camber for the front axle and standard Ohlins adjustable dampers all round
  • Renault Sport developed Bridgestone S007 tyres optimised for fast road and track use
  • Aerodynamic improvements with underbody fairing and carbon rear diffuser
  • Powerful 300PS turbocharged 1.8-litre engine mated to six-speed manual gearbox
  • Torsen limited slip differential for ultimate traction and control
  • Optional carbon ceramic front brakes and carbon wheels - a first in this sector
  • Larger Brembo four piston front brake calipers as standard
  • Standard carbon composite bonnet with NACA duct
  • Lightweight titanium Akrapovič exhaust exclusive to Trophy-R
  • Sabelt composite front seats with optional six-point racing harness
  • Six-speed manual only as gearbox is lighter than the dual-clutch EDC
  • Limited to just 500 examples, with 30 right-hand drive models coming to the UK
  • Prices will be announced, and ordering will be open in August with UK deliveries expecting to begin in October

INTRODUCTION

Loïc FEUVRAY, Trophy-R Renault Sport Cars program manager: “New Mégane R.S. Trophy-R will interest expert customers looking for pure performance with no compromises - ready to treat themselves to something exceptional. Only 500 cars will be made, 30 of which will be fitted with the optional Carbon-Ceramic pack offering features that are ground-breaking in this segment. The high level of performance is also in the management of this project. From the beginning the product specifications are centred on clear objectives, a minimal “racing” team, agile management where decisions are taken immediately to eliminate any barriers preventing technical deployment. In the end the objectives are reached, the schedule is respected, and the result is an exceptional and profitable product.”

Over the last 15 years, the Mégane-based Renault Sport versions have set the hot hatch standard for ultimate performance and driving thrills. In that time the most radical versions of the MÉGANE R.S. have successively beaten the front-wheel drive production car lap record for the hugely challenging Nürburgring, a circuit that’s recognised around the world as the ultimate proving ground for a car’s performance.

The New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is no exception, setting a new record of 7 minutes 40.1 seconds around the tortuous track famously known as the ‘Green Hell’. Yet unlike competitors that simply focus on delivering ever higher power outputs, the engineers at Renault Sport have concentrated on three distinct performance pillars: weight reduction, the maximisation of aerodynamic efficiency and more radical suspension systems. This approach is a Renault Sport trademark, an approach that priorities speed through the corners rather than outright performance in a straight line.

Featuring an impressive weight reduction of 130kg, a totally redesigned suspension set-up and modified aerodynamics the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is the most extreme Renault Sport model yet. It also boasts some innovations that are normally the preserve of high end supercars, such as the optional carbon ceramic brakes and carbon fibre wheels. And in its pursuit of undiluted driving pleasure it removes items such as the rear seats, while the composite Sabelt seats can be ordered with six-point racing harnesses - this is a car that puts the driver front and centre.

Identified by its unique mother-of-pearl paint finish and red highlights (front blade, side stripes, double lateral diamonds graphics and the spokes of the Fuji-Light wheels), its TROPHY-R monograms, its carbon components in the bonnet and rear diffuse and its "shark fin" aerial. Inside, the racing atmosphere is underlined by the Alcantara® racing seats, a material that also adorns the racing steering wheel and handbrake lever. A numbered plaque on the door sill emphasizes the exclusiveness of this limited production model.

Of course, New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is also a car developed using Renault Sport’s extensive motorsport expertise. As a result, the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is a hot hatch ready for the racetrack. With greater traction, speed through corners and braking endurance, it is capable of bringing intense pleasure to expert drivers that want to make the most of its incredible potential. Such is the level of the MEGANE R.S. TROPHY-R that it can easily compete with models that feature four-wheel drive and well in excess of 300 bhp.

This exceptional car will be made available as a limited series of just 500 numbered vehicles globally.

THE THREE PERFORMANCE PILLARS: WEIGHT-SAVING, SUSPENSION AND AERODYNAMICS

WEIGHT-SAVING

Thierry RÉVEILLÉ, technical synthesis engineer Mégane R.S. Trophy-R Renault Sport Cars: “Weight reduction plays a major role in increasing the performance of New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R. In addition to offering a better mass/power ratio, the virtuous circle of weight reduction delivers better agility and performance. Light is right! “

The New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R benefits from a truly remarkable weight reduction of 130kg, when configured with its lightest equipment and compared to the standard Trophy version without options. As a result it tips the scales at just 1,306 kg, representing a power to weight ratio of 230 PS/per ton compared to 209 PS/per ton for the Trophy, despite both sharing the same impressive 300 PS turbocharged 1.8-litre engine. As a result, the 0-62mph sprint now takes just 5.4 seconds - a full three-tenths faster than the Trophy.

This incredible reduction in mass is achieved in a number of ways, each one designed with the expressed intention of squeezing more performance from an already potent package. For instance, the exterior and mechanicals of the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R benefit from the following enhancements :

  • Carbon composite bonnet: at 8kg this panel is half the weight of the standard car’s steel item. Carbon fibre is used for the distinctive NACA air intake and the bonnet lining, while the rest of the louvered panel is fibreglass. As a further touch, New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R uses the lighter opaque and hollow Renault grille badge usually reserved for models equipped with adaptive cruise control.
  • Entirely carbon rear diffuser: not only lighter than the standard unit it helps generate extra aerodynamic downforce.
  • Wheels: the design of the Fuji Light 19’’ alloy wheel (optional on the Trophy) creates a weight saving of 2kg per corner, while the optional Carbon Revolution carbon wheel slices a further 2kg per wheel and is a world first in this sector.
  • Akrapovičtitanium exhaust: not only does this contribute to a weight saving of over 6kg, it also delivers a more authentic Developed to meet road and track noise regulations it has also been designed to integrate perfectly with the aerodynamics of the rear diffuser, plus it continues a Akrapovič’s working relationship with Renault Sport that goes back to the Megane R.S. 275 Trophy.
  • Bespoke lighter rear axle: this unit brings a significant 32kg saving over the Trophy, which is largely down to the decision not to use 4CONTROL steering for New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R. With the improved front axle and lighter weight, the required improvements in agility could be gained with a non-directional rear axle, while the need for the standard car’s high speed stability was not something that was demanded by expert drivers.
  • Optional air intake to replace the R.S. Vision driving lamps: available as an option, this extra unit fits into the nearside lower trim panel normally occupied by the R.S. Vision driving lamps. Using an accessory pipe it feeds directly into the engine air intake. In combination with an identical looking but blanked off insert on the offside this option results in a 2kg saving in weight and slightly reduced overhanging mass, subtly reducing the polar moment of inertia for improved agility.
  • High performance DESS lead battery: standard fit is a Dual Energy Storage System (DESS) battery that delivers increased performance for its size, while an optional lithium DESS battery offers a 4.5kg weight saving and is available from the online store as an accessory ( R.S.com).

The inside of the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R hasn’t escaped the engineers’ forensic pursuit of weight-saving. Almost the entire interior has been reworked in an effort to minimise mass and increase performance, with the following changes:

  • Sabelt composite monocoque racing seats: Finished in grippy and hard-wearing Alcantara® these figure-hugging one-piece seats offer a weight saving of approximately 7kg per seat. Both seats can be set at three different heights using the lightweight subframe, while a Sabelt six-point harness is available as an accessory. Specific Renault Sport trim colours mean they integrate seamlessly with the rest of the cabin.
  • Removal of rear seats: By ditching the rear bench an impressive 3 kg has been stripped from the kerbweight. On cars with the optional carbon fibre wheels there are four separate storage bags, straps, netting and a cradle for the wheels. These can be accessed using the rear doors, which remain operational, and the tailgate. Furthermore, there is a thinner boot floor that saves 1.3kg and is marked with an R logo.
  • Thinner glazing, sealed rear door windows and deletion of rear wiper: the front and rear side windows get thinner and lighter glazing, saving 1kg, while the rear doors get fixed glass panes, which allows the removal of the electric window mechanisms and motors. In a similar vein, the rear wiper, its motor and wiring loom have been deleted, resulting in a 3kg saving.
  • 7.0-inch infotainment screen: the obsessive pursuit of weight reduction is highlighted by the use of the smaller 7.0-inch infotainment system, which saves 250g compared to the standard Trophy’s 8.7-inch screen. However, the reversing camera is carried over, helping to avoid any risk of damaging the carbon diffuser when manoeuvring!

SUSPENSION

Laurent HURGON, Renault Sport test driver: “This new version is a demanding car for expert drivers who love to fine tune, and are seeking performance above all else. Every driver can make adjustments to their vehicle, learning to master the car, adjusting the shock absorbers and attitude to fine-tune handling to meet their requirements for driving into, through and out of bends. “

With the same engine power as the standard Trophy, the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R has been developed to deliver its increased performance through the corners. Not only has the axle geometry been revised to increase speed through the bends and traction on the exit, there are also many options for fine-tuning adjustments by the driver, essentially making the new New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R a true racing car for the road. In their pursuit of maximum suspension performance on road and track Renault Sport’s engineers have undertaken the following changes:

  • Revised front suspension: the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R benefits from a heavily revised suspension with its own geometry. Just like a racing car, the front axle keeps its independent pivot and has the negative camber increased by 1° compared to that of the Mégane R.S. Trophy, taking the figure to -2.05° in total. As a result the tyre contact patch is maintained during high cornering loads, allowing higher speeds through bends and better traction on the exits.
  • Torsen® limited slip differential: carried over from the Trophy is the limited slip differential that improves traction both in a straight line and out of corners, allowing drivers to use more of the engine’s power for a faster exit speed.
  • Lightened H rear axle: the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R features a bespoke rear axle, which saves 32kg. Crucially, the new set-up does not use the 4CONTROL four-wheel steering, the resulting weight-saving being much more appreciated by expert drivers than the fractional loss in high-speed stability.
  • Öhlins dampers: engineered in collaboration with Swedish suspension specialists Ohlins, these dual flow dampers make a major contribution to the dynamic efficiency of the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R. At both the front and rear these units can be adjusted for body height (lowering the ride by up to 16mm) and compression/rebound, while further tuning is offered by the adjustable bump stops.
  • Rear strut brace: by removing the rear seats it has been possible to add a strut brace that improves the torsional rigidity of the bodyshell.
  • Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres: Developed specifically for Renault Sport, the Potenza S007 is standard on the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R (and optional on the Trophy). Delivering remarkable response in terms of steering and optimum grip for extreme driving, the tyres are the first to get a specific R.S. marking on the wall. This is a high performance tyre that can be used every day yet is capable of enabling a record-breaking run on the Nordschleife.
  • Standard Brembo brakes: braking efficiency is naturally improved by the weight reduction measures on the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R, yet tthe dual material 355 mm front brake discs from Mégane R.S. Trophy are combined with new Brembo four piston callipers that feature larger 42mm pistons (the Trophy’s have a 40mm diameter).
  • Carbon ceramic brake upgrade: the optional carbon ceramic discs feature an even larger 390mm diameter to virtually take up all the available space behind the 19’’ wheel. These are clamped by a Gold finished Brembo four piston (44mm top and 42mm bottom) callipers embossed with the Renault Sport logo. Due to the increased braking performance revised ABS and ESP calibrations were necessary, ensuring consistent pedal pressure and bite during extreme driving. This gives New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R the ultimate braking performance and unbeatable endurance, even during extended track work. In addition, the disc’s carbon-ceramic material considerably lengthens operational
  • Multi-Sense: as on the Trophy, the Multi-Sense set-up allows drivers to tailor the steering, throttle and ambient lighting to suit the situation and mood.

AERODYNAMICS

François-Xavier DELAGE, Mégane R.S. Trophy-R Renault Sport Cars head engineer: “Considerable work was conducted on aerodynamics, for the same purposes as weight reduction and suspension: to increase grip by improving the overall aerodynamics and front/rear aerodynamic balance, in particular due to the resulting weight reduction in the rear part of the car. While the specific underbodies smooth the airflow upstream, the diffuser with its enlarged section downstream generates double the downforce than on Mégane R.S. Trophy with very limited deterioration of drag (+ 1.5%). These specific technical elements to enhance performance enabled the designers to produce an expressive resolutely “racing” design.“

As with the rest of the car, the aerodynamic performance of the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R was put under the microscope. Any design choices made were done so with the sole aim of optimising performance. As a result, engineers were able to deliver greater front and rear downforce while limiting aerodynamic drag. All changes made were verified both using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and results gained in the wind tunnel.

At the front the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R benefits from a new bonnet with NACA intake, which combines with a similar vent under the engine to improve the air flow by seven percent and optimise cooling of the engine compartment during extreme hard driving. When at a standstill the new lateral louvres set into the bonnet work in combination with the NACA duct to provide a natural escape for engine heat build-up.

The bottom blade under the front bumper has been also been redesigned to provide better aerodynamic balance between the front and rear, while the new fairings under the front bumper and under the floor smooth air flow to optimise supply to the rear diffuser.

This entirely carbon fibre rear diffuser is equipped with thinner, F1-type curved blades that feature an even larger effective surface area in the central section in particular. Furthermore, the twin exit Akrapovič titanium exhaust features tailpipes that are cut to follow the profile of the diffuser, helping to minimise any disruption in the central airstream. By maximising the airflow in this way engineers have delivered increased downforce compared to the Mégane R.S. Trophy.  achieve this same objective,

A further enhancement is the optional dynamic air intake that replaces the R.S. Vision driving lamps, normally set low in the front bumper, which helps lower air intake temperatures. Available as an accessory is a ducting pipe that extends this intake straight into the engine air filter unit.

On top of all this, new brake scoops double the air flow to the front discs, further improving braking endurance in severe conditions.

ENGINE, GEARBOX AND LIMITED PRODUCTION

Damienne DENIS, head of the Renault Sport Cars marketing department:
“With New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R, we are targeting our most radical customers, for whom performance is the number one purchase criterion, well ahead of all the others. They know our history and our capacity to push back the limits, and they expect us once more to produce an extreme car with no concessions to performance. We owe it to ourselves to bring them the best of our know-how, and to offer them the options and accessories they need to push their Trophy-R experience as far as possible.”

ENGINE AND GEARBOX

Given the high specific power rating already achieved by the the Mégane R.S. Trophy’s MR18 engine (with 300 PS it delivers an extremely impressive 167 PS per litre), Renault Sport concluded that it had more than enough performance for the lighter and even more focused New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R.

To recap, however, the 1.8-litre direct injection turbo four-cylinder unit develops 300 PS at 6,000 rpm and delivers a muscular of 400 Nm of torque. Its turbocharger makes use of a technology originating directly from Formula 1, the ceramic ball bearing coating both reducing response time and easily coping with the heat and stresses of spinning at up to 200,000rpm.

Underlining the unit’s robustness is the fact that it was chosen by Renault Sport Racing as the basis for the engine used in the latest generation of Formula Renault single seat racer used in the demanding Formula Renault Eurocup championship.

Renault Sport engineers chose the six-speed manual gearbox for the New Mégane R.S. TROPHY-Ras it is lighter than the dual clutch EDC transmission, plus it is more in keeping with the car’s focus on expert drivers.

In combination with the significant weight-savings the new engine delivers impressive performance:

  • Max speed: 163mph
  • Acceleration 0-62 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • Acceleration 31-75mph in 3rd gear: 2.9 seconds
  • Standing kilometre: 24.5 seconds

Furthermore, the engine is equipped with a petrol particle filter and meets the Euro 6d temp standards.

LIMITED PRODUCTION RUN OF 500 UNITS

Like its predecessors the Mégane R.S. R26.R and Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R, the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is set to be a rare and exclusive car. It appeals to the most demanding type of Renault Sport customers, who seeks the most sophisticated and engaging handling, and is motivated above all by performance.

As a result, the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R will be launched as a limited series of 500 numbered vehicles globally, with France, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Japan being the main markets.

Of the 500 examples globally, 30 will be ultra exclusive versions that feature the following options:

  • Four additional carbon wheels: delivered in their own individual covers and secured by a dedicated Sabelt net to a special subframe behind the front seats, these lightweight wheels are in addition to the standard Fuji Light rims.
  • Carbon-Ceramic pack: this combines front brakes with carbon-ceramic discs combined with the dynamic air intake replacing the R.S. Vision headlights.

The remaining 470 examples can be specified with a range of options aimed at further improving the already extreme performance of the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R:

  • Adjustable rear bumpstop and short suspension spring
  • DESS Lithium battery
  • Six-point Sabelt harness
  • Intake air duct for the dynamic air intake
  • Dynamic air intake.

BUILDING NEW MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R

Given the relatively small production numbers involved Renault Sport has worked closely with Palencia factory, which assembles the standard Mégane models. As a result, even the bespoke front axle complete with optional carbon ceramic brakes can be fitted on the full production line. In addition there is a team of 15 people working in the TECH workshop at the end of the line. Capable of setting up a tailored production system to fit parts that cannot be accommodated on the assembly line, these individuals attach items such as the bonnet, diffuser and carbon wheels. These are tasks where the human hand brings utmost care and precision to create the exceptional finished object: the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R, which is finished at a rate of 15 examples per day.

BEATING THE NURBURGRING LAP RECORD

François-Xavier DELAGE, head engineer for New MÉGANE R. S. TROPHY-R: “One of the characteristics of the organisation implemented on this TROPHY-R project is to set up an extremely small team of about ten people, as in F1, continuously seeking to improve performance and working to an extremely tight schedule. Team spirit, the human factor, the proximity between engineers and the driver have been fundamental structuring values: the record bears witness to this! “

On 5 April 2019 the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R set a new all-time record for front-wheel-drive production cars on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring, completing the tortuous 12.8 mile lap in 7 minutes 40.1 seconds . This represents a remarkable performance on what is the most demanding circuit in the world for both for cars and drivers.

Yet this success is part of decade long story of Mégane R.S. and the ‘Ring, which reflects the passion and desire for a challenge that motivates all parts of Renault Sport team. This story began in 2008 when Renault secured the very first record in the production car category, and it has continued right up to 2019. In all, four “radical” Mégane R.S. cars have secured records in the production car category on the Nürburgring (Nordschleife):

  • 2008: Mégane R.S. R26.R in 8 minutes 17 seconds.
  • 2011: Mégane R.S. Trophy in 8 minutes 07.97 seconds.
  • 2014: Mégane III R.S. Trophy-R in 7 minutes 54.36 seconds.
  • 2019: The New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R in 7 minutes 40.1 seconds

N.B.: The Nordschleife: a new official run. Up until 2019, most of the records were set on the 20.600 km run. Stopwatch started at the end of the T13 zone, and stopped at the start/finish line. Starting in 2019, the official run according to the Nürburgring is the complete lap of 20.832 km: stopwatch started and stopped on the start/finish line (beginning of T13). In this context, the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R time is recorded in the “compact cars” category (production vehicles without any modifications).

To achieve such a record today with a production car is a truly astounding achievement. To succeed it was necessary to introduce flexible and talented ‘commando style’ teamwork to keep within the short development time. This required methods similar to those used in the Renault Sport motorsport sector and experience gained by the Formula 1 team.

THE DRIVER: LAURENT HURGON

At the wheel for the successful record attempt was Laurent Hurgon, the official test driver for the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R. Having already broken the record on two previous occasions for Renault, he knows each metre of the circuit like the back of his hand. He is passionate about what he does, contributing in this ultimate version of the Mégane with the same dedicated attention to detail as he would for a racing car. After each test session there was a debriefing session, just as in motorsport, when adjustments would be made and new solutions found. Each change moving the project closer to ultimate performance.