This time at Suzuka.
The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka earlier this year ended up being one to forget for Renault but the French firm has banished all memories of that weekend by smashing a lap record on the very same track.
The Megane R.S. Trophy-R set a new front-wheel-drive record with French GT driver Laurent Hurgon behind the wheel. The car lapped the 3.6-mile course in 2m 25.454s – a whole three seconds quicker than the previous front-wheel-drive record at the same track. The record adds to the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps records already achieved by the Megane R.S. Trophy-R.
Japan is the leading market for Renault's R.S. range, ahead of both Germany and France, and is the world's third-biggest market for the Megane R.S. The company estimates that there are as many as 10,000 Renault Sport fans in Japan, too.
More than 50 examples of the car have been reserved for customers in Japan so far. In fact, before the Megane R.S. Trophy-R even went on sale in Japan, Renault took the car to Suzuka to carry out further development work to make sure it was perfectly set up for the Japanese market.
"The new Megane R.S. Trophy-R has set a new record in its category, this time at Suzuka, the leading circuit in Japan," said Patrice Ratti, Renault Sport Cars general manager. "This performance is particularly meaningful for the 10,000 strong local community of Renault Sport and Trophy-R fans."
"It demonstrates the effectiveness of the specific testing campaign we conducted on site to best meet their expectations. This is enough to further strengthen the relationship with our very international customer base."
Gallery: Renault Megane RS Trophy-R front-wheel-drive record at Suzuka
The new MEGANE R.S TROPHY-R: New record on the Suzuka circuit
The MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R set a new record of 2’25’’454 (more than 3s better than the previous record) on the prestigious Suzuka circuit in Japan, after its against-the-clock reference time on the famous Nordschleife at Nürburgring and its record at Spa-Francorchamps as part of R.S. Days, broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook. It is a major success in this country, which has some 10,000 TROPHY-R and Renault Sport fans: at the end of September 2019, Japan was Renault Sport's leading world market for the R.S. range, ahead of Germany and France, and the third for Mégane R.S., even though the Trophy version has not yet been launched there.
- In anticipation of TROPHY-R's success with its Japanese fans, development tests were carried out at the beginning of the year on the Suzuka circuit to best meet the specific expectations of local customers.
- The MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is the latest version of a story that began 15 years ago, which, like its illustrious predecessors, sets new circuit records in the front-wheel-drive production-car category, continuing Renault Sport's passion for challenge and performance. The new Mégane R.S. TROPHY-R is the most efficient production car ever built by Renault.
- Compared to the Mégane R.S. TROPHY, the Renault MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R, equipped with the same 300 hp engine, owes its increased speed to the weight reduction (up to 130 kg), the work on aerodynamics and the more radical development of its ground links.
- The Renault MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is launched on the markets in the form of a limited series of 500 numbered examples for the whole world. The TROPHY-R, which is the most exclusive variant of the Mégane R.S. range, is particularly popular in Japan: more than 50 TROPHY-R 2019s, including some equipped with the Carbon-Ceramic Pack, have already been reserved by Renault Japan (and will be delivered to their happy owners in the first half of 2020).
Patrice RATTI, Renault Sport Cars General Manager:
The new MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R has set a new record in its category, this time at Suzuka, the leading circuit in Japan. This performance is particularly meaningful for the 10,000 strong local community of Renault Sport and TROPHY-R fans. It demonstrates the effectiveness of the specific testing campaign we conducted on site to best meet their expectations. This is enough to further strengthen the relationship with our very international customer base
In the tradition of Renault Sport, this new generation of MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R owes its performance to its pure power, since its 300 hp engine is that of the Mégane R.S. TROPHY, launched in early 2019. MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R was developed as a racing car by a small dedicated team that focussed on three aspects: maximum weight reduction (up to 130 kg compared to the Mégane R.S. Trophy excluding options), reworked aerodynamics and a more radical development of its drive axles.
In line with the records set at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps, Renault Sport's passion for sport has led to new challenges. The new MEGANE R.S TROPHY-R set a new absolute official record and a reference time for a production city-car on the 5.8-kilometre-long Suzuka circuit, which has 18 curves. The record time, set on November 26 by Laurent Hurgon - who already holds multiple records driving different generations of the car – is 2’25’’454.
The story of the Mégane R.S. and its records has been going on for more than 10 years, notably on the Nürburgring circuit. It started in 2008 with the very first record in the front-wheel-drive production car category: The Mégane R.S. R26.R completed the Nordschleife lap in 8'17'. A time that was shattered 3 years later, in 2011, by the second generation Mégane R.S. Trophy version, in the hands of the car's driver-builder, Laurent Hurgon (8'07''97). In 2014, he passed under the 8-minute mark (7'54''36) for the first time with the Trophy-R version of the Mégane III R.S. He was also the one who drove the New MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R to set a new against-the-clock reference time of 07'40''100 on the 20,600 km Nordschleife circuit (or 07'45''389 on the official full lap of 20,832 km), in a chase for records in which gaining every second has become that much harder. And it was him again who managed to break the Spa-Francorchamps circuit record (02’48’’338), broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook. Now Laurent Hurgon has set a new record, this time on the Suzuka circuit in Japan. On the other side of the world, Renault Australia has just beaten the lap record for a front-wheel-drive production car category on the international circuit of the 4.95 km Long Bend Motorsport Park complex. At the wheel of a standard Mégane R.S. TROPHY-R, the driver for the Gary Rogers Motorsport team, James Moffat, set a record time of 2'14''316. He entered the TCR Australia series with a Mégane R.S. TCR prepared by Vukovic Motorsport.
MÉGANE R.S. TROPHY-R is marketed in the form of a limited edition of 500 numbered examples. Price: starting at €55,000 (price in France, varies depending on country).