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Nurburgring-smashing Renault Megane RS Trophy-R confirmed for Australia

22 May 2019

RENAULT’S new Nurburgring record breaker, the track-focused Megane RS Trophy-R, is coming to Australia.


Renault Australia has confirmed that a limited number of the hottest Megane hatchbacks will make it to Australia in the fourth quarter of this year at a price yet to be set.


The stripped-back Megane – about 130kg lighter than the RS Trophy – slammed around the German track in 7:40.10 in the hands of Renault test driver Laurent Hugron on April 5 to seize the front-wheel-drive production car record from Honda’s Civic Type R.


The Renault’s hot lap was 3.7 seconds quicker than the 7:43.80 time set by the Civic over the 20.6km Nordschliefe course in 2017.


However, the RS Trophy-R is a limited-edition variant, while the Civic Type R is a full production model.


Renault says the Trophy-R will be built in a run of “a few hundred units”.


The car will be shown in public for the first time on May 24 on the fringes of the Monaco Formula One grand prix where the Renault F1 team’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo and teammate Nico Hulkenberg will take the wheel.


The Trophy-R runs the same 224kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine as the RS Trophy, but a hefty weight-loss program, improved aerodynamics and tweaks to the chassis made the difference in the new Nurburgring attempt.


The exact changes are yet to be spelled out, but Renault’s press release announcing the record paid tribute to go-fast-parts partners Akrapovič (exhaust systems), Brembo (brakes), Bridgestone (tyres), Öhlins (suspension) and Sabelt (seats).


Renault’s assault on the front-wheel-drive record for Nurburgring started in 2008 when the previous generation R26.R lapped in 8:17. Three years later, the RS Trophy sliced that to 8:07.97.


In 2014, the RS Trophy-R became the first FWD production car to break the eight-minute barrier, setting a new record of 7:54.33.


When it arrives in Australia, the Megane RS Trophy-R will sit above the current Megane performance range toppers, the RS Sport and RS Cup.


Both of these variants are offered with a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions, with pricing starting at $45,990 plus on-road costs for the Sport manual and rising to $51,990 for the Cup auto.


It is unclear if the RS Trophy-R will be offered with the dual-clutch auto, but the video of the Nurburgring hot lap shows Laurent Hugron changing gears with a stick shift.


A change in the Nurburgring timing methodology means that Hugron set two lap records on April 5 – 7:40.10 for the old method and 7:45.389 for the new.


Under the old system, the lap timing was started at the end of the start-finish straight and ended at the start of the straight. Now, the timing is started and finished at a single line on the straight, as it is everywhere else.


This means the official lap distance has gone from 20.6km to 20.832km.


Regardless, the Megane was still faster than the Honda Civic Type R, as it beat the old timing distance by more than three seconds and set a new full-lap record of 7:45.389 – a mark that no doubt will have Honda champing at the bit to better.

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