Renault has wasted no time on revealing a new iteration of customer-competition Clio based on the just-launched fifth generation model. Developed for both single-make racing and open series, the manufacturer claims the latest car offers, "unprecedented versatility and accessibility of ever-lower costs".
It's hard to argue with either statement because Renault has attacked the concept from both ends. For a start, the latest car isn't based on a full-blooded Renault Sport model (shock, horror) but rather the new Clio R.S. Line - which means you get non-adjustable Bos shocks and a revved up version of the 1.3-litre TCe unit producing between 170 and 180hp depending on regulations.
The engine is still twinned with a Sadey sequential five-speed gearbox, a Sachs clutch and a ZF limited-slip differential - not to mention a FIA homologated fuel cell -but presumably the combination is intended to provide a more cost-effective way into Clio racing. And that's not the only money-saving wheeze up Renault's sleeve.
Customers will now be able to switch seamlessly between track, rally and rallycross thanks to dedicated conversions kits which remake the same car as Clio Cup, Clio Rally or Clio RX depending on the surface that you fancy competing on. No details yet on precisely what is included in the costume change, although Renault is promising "three proper race cars specifically designed for their specialities" despite a shared base.
The three-prong approach is said to be the result of a year-long development process where "reliability, performance and cost control have been the watchwords". You'll obviously make your own mind up, but the result certainly looks the part - and early word on the latest Clio is that its revised chassis (underpinned by a new, lighter platform) is a highlight of fifth generation model.
Whether or not it lives up to the enduring reputation of Renault's enormously popular single-make series, we'll obviously have to wait and see. Although if the firm has built a new entry-level, multi-use car that costs significantly less than the €46,300 a current 220 Trophy-based Clio Cup will set you back, then that's a compelling evolution of its customer racing concept. More details to come, price included - but Renault is already far enough along to suggest that it'll start selling the Dieppe-built cars in October, and deliver them ready to race for next year.