Renault Clio 182 Trophy: PH Fleet


Though my Fleet updates have been a little thin on the ground recently, that's by no means a reflection on a lack of activity! In fact, I managed to tot up four track days in KN55 HWX last year, which as a newbie really helped me find my feet. Going to Spa back in June really showed what the Trophy is capable of, but it also highlighted the car's weaknesses.

Trophy meets Trophy!
Trophy meets Trophy!
The standard brakes were so feeble they pretty much gave up after the first session. The front Sachs dampers finally decided to retire after 10 years (which is damn good going), so I found myself needing to get those rebuilt as well as sorting the brakes ahead of my next track foray. This was new ground as I was focusing on improvements to braking and suspension for the first time, rather than the usual relentless search for more power.

I started with the brakes, researching what others were running and reading reviews online. A popular set up combines Brembo High Carbon Max grooved discs with Ferodo DS2500 pads on the front. I kept it standard at the rear with a new set of OEM discs and pads. Goodridge braided hoses were added all round for a firmer pedal feel, and some ATE Superblue brake fluid should ensure I don't go boiling it again! A big thanks to George at RTR Parts, who smashed any other price I could find for the lot.

Can you spot the new springs?
Can you spot the new springs?
Next came the Sachs damper rebuild. There's no set service interval for them, but the seals eventually give up and need to be overhauled. Given the rebuild cost £730, I made a couple of other changes while the dampers were off and my wallet was open... One of the original springs cracked on removal, so I opted for a set of Mark Fish springs; the man maths made sense! They are fairly track focused and drop the car by 10mm. The old rubber top mounts were a bit tired, so these were swapped out for Pure Motorsport solid top mounts and its strut brace.

With everything back on and the dampers rebuilt, I was desperate to put it all to the test. Once the brakes were bedded in with some guidance from RTR on the performance pads, I was ready for a B-road thrash around Kent. It finally felt like I owned a Clio Trophy! The improvement in braking and handling was phenomenal; it took a highly capable hot hatch to a laugh out loud B-road rocket. Immediately it felt more planted, more predictable and more eager. The upgraded brakes felt firmer and stronger, allowing me to brake later and harder into a corner, leaning on the Michelin Pilot Sport 3s up front and building grip before turn in. The top mounts and strut brace changed the steering feel, making the front end feel pointier and more alive. The stiffer springs had cut body roll too. I could hardly wait for the my next circuit outing at Oulton Park, full of confidence that the Trophy was ready for its first full-on track day.

The track day bug has definitely bitten
The track day bug has definitely bitten
The transformation was immediate. The brakes no longer felt spongy and weak; they were firm underfoot and stayed that way. The handling improvements boosted confidence and enabled me to push harder each lap, without the fear of losing grip. After a few haphazard laps, James jumped in to show me the lines. Thankfully as it was a Renaultsport track day, I was with like-minded owners and machinery, so there was no intimidation or fear of being forced off the circuit. It's always good to see a few more Clio Trophys too!

I normally struggle to keep hold of a car for six months before I'm bored and need a change, but KN55 HWX continues to amuse with both its performance and cult appeal. I think this one's a keeper.


FACT SHEET
Car:
2005 Renault Clio 182 Trophy
Run by: Ben Lowden
Bought: April 2015
Mileage: 82,251
Purchase price: £4,250
Last month at a glance: Brakes sorted, suspension sorted, time for more track days!

Previous reports:
Cheerio diesel Skoda, hello limited edition Renault hero!
Spa day the Renaultsport way
Induction and exhaust tweaks for the Trophy
Trophy shines after time with the detailers

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Renaultsport for having me along at Oulton Park.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (25) Join the discussion on the forum

  • CageyJ0nnY 12 Jan 2016

    Reading this makes me really miss my 172 cup frown

    Some nice upgrades there taken straight out of the big book of cliosport.net


  • Roma101 12 Jan 2016

    I am sure I saw this car in St Albans in the last week, or a Trophy with a similar plate. It is always nice to see a Trophy with its distinctive red paintwork.

    Sounds like you have done some sensible mods. The only thing I would do differently on the brakes would be DS2500 pads on the rear as well.

    I don't think you really need to do much more to the car after all of that - ideal set up for both road and trackday use.

  • BenLowden 12 Jan 2016

    Roma101 said:
    I am sure I saw this car in St Albans in the last week, or a Trophy with a similar plate. It is always nice to see a Trophy with its distinctive red paintwork.

    Sounds like you have done some sensible mods. The only thing I would do differently on the brakes would be DS2500 pads on the rear as well.

    I don't think you really need to do much more to the car after all of that - ideal set up for both road and trackday use.
    It wasn't me, but they definitely do stand out. I've only ever seen one on the road, other than when I was in Wales with 11 others last year!

    Might have to try the pads on the back too, thanks for the tip. I'm tempted to try something different next time though, as they're pretty non existent when cold. They don't take long to warm up, but I'd rather have a pad that works straight away.

    No other major plans now other than hopefully a set of Pro Race 1.2s with R888s when funds allow for track days.

  • Chiefbadger 12 Jan 2016

    BenLowden said:
    It wasn't me, but they definitely do stand out. I've only ever seen one on the road, other than when I was in Wales with 11 others last year!

    Might have to try the pads on the back too, thanks for the tip. I'm tempted to try something different next time though, as they're pretty non existent when cold. They don't take long to warm up, but I'd rather have a pad that works straight away.

    No other major plans now other than hopefully a set of Pro Race 1.2s with R888s when funds allow for track days.
    When I swapped my original pads/discs for this set up on my old Trophy after a few track days, I was going to change the rears, but they were effectively unworn still (the fronts were destroyed!) I remember being a bit shocked at the time, but I did a lot of asking around and it appears that the Trophy's (not sure if standard 182's are the same) tend to have a very heavy front brake bias. Effectively the rears barely do any work so very little point swapping from standard.

  • Feirny 12 Jan 2016

    Glad to see you're making good use of George!

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