If you're 'ringed out then apologies. But confirmation that a stripped out version of the new
Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy
called the Trophy-R has bagged a new front-wheel drive Nordschleife lap record with a time of 7min 54.3sec deserves your attention, whatever your view on the relevance of such manhood measurement contests.
Laurent Hurgon; SEAT and Honda hate him
Having slapped existing record holders SEAT across the chops the Renaultsport gauntlet is now thrown to the feet of Honda, whose
Civic Type R
development team must now be a little thoughtful about the publicly stated goal of it being the fastest front-wheel drive car around the 'ring. Especially when they learn the extent of the modifications required.
If nothing else the Megane 275 Trophy-R proves just how much work it takes to get a hot hatch round the Nordschleife in a time that a decade ago would have been more than respectable for a supercar. The standard 275 Trophy we're out at the 'ring driving today we knew about; it's an uprated version of the facelifted Megane 265 Cup with a power bump, a titanium Akrapovic exhaust and the option of fancy Ohlins dampers and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Compared with the rest of the package the engine work is limited to that 10hp increase and an extension of the torque curve to match the 5,500rpm peak power; this map is available in Sport and Race modes via the R.S. Drive button.
c. 100kg weight loss, Ohlins dampers, Cup tyres...
The Trophy-R that actually set the lap record is a rather more serious piece of kit though, closer in spirit to the R26.R that set a previous 8min 17sec lap record back in 2008. Like the R26.R the Trophy-R benefits from significant weight savings to the tune of a claimed 101kg, bringing the kerb weight down to 1,280kg. To get there the rear seats have been removed (-20kg), fixed racing seats installed (-22kg), the rear wiper deleted (-1kg) along with the climate control (-10kg) and so on.
The DFV (Dual Flow Valve) Road&Track Ohlins dampers (with remote clicker adjusters) get Clio 200 style hydraulic bump stops up front and fancy Allevard composite epoxy/fibre glass springs saving another 2kg. These are standard on the -R, likewise the titanium Akrapovic exhaust and Cup 2 tyres on Speedline Turini wheels, worth 4kg and (an unsprung) 5kg respectively. An optional Nurburgring Pack with lithium ion battery (-16kg), 'Performance' brakes with bigger 350mm discs on aluminium bells (-3kg), Sabelt harnesses, wheel bags for your track rubber and a retaining strap to stop them rattling around in the back will be offered if you insist on having your Trophy-R in full 'ring record spec.
888-shod R26.R did an 8min 17sec in 2008
Price? The 275 Trophy starts at £28,930 for which you get the Akrapovic exhaust and power bump but not the Ohlins dampers or Cup tyres, which cost £2,000 and c. £1,000 respectively. The Trophy-R costs - wait for it - £36,430 and just 30 of the 250 to be built will make it to the UK. You can speculate on the full Nurburgring Pack price with the fancy battery and brakes and it doesn't take much imagination to come up with a figure starting with a '4', which should get the comments thread humming...
We've given SEAT a bit of a hard time over the revelations that the Leon Cupra that was the first to break the eight minute barrier wasn't standard and it's fair to say that to get your Megane Trophy-R into the full record breaking spec is going to cost a significant extra margin over the base 275 version. But Renault is upfront about the extent of the modifications and anyone in any doubt about what's required to achieve a time like this need only browse that upgrades list and the bottom line figure that underpins it. And, no, big brass ones like Renault test driver Laurent Hurgon's aren't included. You'll have to provide them yourself.
Hurgon and 265 Trophy did 8min 07sec in 2011
Is there a market for a hot hatch as extreme as this? Probably an extremely limited one but Renaultsport is to be applauded for even considering bringing such a thing to the market and those willing to sign on the line are going to be possession of a proper piece of kit. The pricing means it's not quite the everyman GT3 RS. But it's as close to as we'll get in this lifetime, complete with the daft sticker set.
Now, is Vauxhall going to be able to resist the temptation to have a go with the AstraVXR Extreme...
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