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Renault Twin’Run concept arrives in street-race

High-performance Renault Twin’Run chased through Monte Carlo by its predecessors

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Renault logo27 May 2013

By DANIEL GARDNER

AFTER an elongated teaser campaign, Renault finally revealed its latest concept at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix: the edgy and one-off Twin’Run hot hatch.

And while these surroundings may have been glitz and glam, the car is much more than a mere show pony. A 240kW V6 engine is mounted amidships, and a tubular space-frame chassis sits under the skin.

The latest Renault show car continues a line of high-performance hatches beginning in the 1980s, with the Group-B rally competing Renault 5 Turbo. This legacy was resumed in 2001 when the mad Clio V6 was born.

A race between the two historic cars and the new Twin’Run was staged for the crowds in Monte Carlo, with F1 star Charles Pic piloting the Clio V6, former rally driver Jean Ragnotti steering his Maxi 5 Turbo and Renault chief operating officer Carlos Tavares bravely trying to keep them both at bay in the Twin’Run.

The street race was intended to remind the public of Renault’s racing heritage and history of hot hatches.

The new concept certainly appears to honour this hi-po history with an impressive list of features. While recent concepts have focused on environmental considerations, pure performance is the Twin’Run’s raison d’etre.

The one-off was developed from scratch as a racing car with composite material body panels clothing a tubular space-frame designed in conjunction with chassis specialist Tork Engineering.

The racecar DNA continues under the skin with a 3.5-litre V6 delivering power through a six-speed sequential gearbox and twin metallic clutch.

The result is a 43/57 weight distribution, ultra-short wheel-base and blistering acceleration perfect for tackling the tyre-shredding corners of a street-race like Monaco.

Hauling up the little Renault isn’t a problem either with six-piston calipers braking 7.5x18-inch slick-clad wheels at the front and four-piston calipers managing the eight-inch wide rear wheels.

Four LED driving lamps adorn the front of the Twin’Run and closely resemble the auxiliary lighting fitted to Monte Carlo night racers of the 80’s, while the number 5 on its doors is a nod to the R5 turbo.

The high-intensity LED light rack was a design challenge in its own right, having to provide night-piercing illumination from a lamp measuring just 25mm deep while also being capable of cycling through various sequences.

With a sub-1000kg kerb weight, the zero to 100km/h sprint takes just 4.5 seconds, and the little French fighter will keep going all the way up to 250km/h.

Both the track-car technology and historical references continue inside the snug cabin.

Full racing harnesses hold two occupants in the Sparco bucket seats, and a little luxury is afforded by black and red alcantara-upholstered door panels and dash.

Despite looking like a four-seater hatch from the outside, the Twin’Run has room for just two as any rear seat space is dominated by the longitudinally mounted V6 engine – niftily visible through a plexiglass panel.

Driver controls are rally bred with the suede steering wheel in close proximity to the sequential gear lever, a joint welded handbrake for lightening fast inputs and pedals arranged for heel-and-toe.

Twin oil and water temperature gauges are another nod to the Renault 5 Turbo – but tradition is balanced with technology as all other vehicle information is displayed via a multi-page LCD screen.

Talking about his latest creation, Renault’s head of concept car design Axel Breun said: “Twin'Run embodies the mad genius Renault has been known for over the decades, to the delight of motor sports enthusiasts”.

“No one has forgotten the R5 Turbo and the Clio V6. Twin’Run is the true heir of those racing cars that had so much appeal.” The recently revealed Renault TwinZ concept is expected to herald some of the features in the upcoming Renault Twingo so the reveal of the Twin’Run may indicate a racing inspired road version will also follow.

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