French car companies are often known for their off-beat vehicles with goofy names like Twingo, Bipper, or Kangoo, but the French also have a rich, long-standing racing tradition. Renault looks to build on that history with a new high-performance Renaultsport R.S. 01 race car to usher in its forthcoming Renaultsport Trophy one-make championship series. And what better way to build a race car than with a carbon fiber monocoque and a 500+ hp Nissan GT-R engine?
At the heart of the new Renaultsport R.S. 01 racer is the center-rear-mounted Nissan GT-R 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6, churning out more than 500 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. All of that Japanese muscle is routed to the 18-inch rear wheels, whereas the regular GT-R has all-wheel drive, via a seven-speed paddle-shifted sequential gearbox. The Renaultsport R.S. 01 also uses a double wishbone suspension setup, as well as adjustable dampers and six-piston carbon-ceramic brakes. Curb weight is less than 2245 lbs, and top speed comes in at more than 186 mph.
An all-out aerodynamics package helps keep the Renaultsport R.S. 01 both slippery and firmly planted to the track. Renault fitted the Renaultsport R.S. 01 with a high-performance diffuser and front splitter to feed the dual turbochargers with fresh air, brake cooler front scoops, and special fins in on the side of the bumper to help funnel air and reduce turbulence away from the wheels. Air is also sucked into the grille and released through the hood, creating additional pressure and downforce. Aerodynamic features continue at the vehicle’s rear, with the wide lower diffuser and adjustable rear wing.
The whole project, which was completed in five months, will be put to the test when Renault introduces the Renaultsport R.S. 01 at the Renaultsport Trophy championship series. The series will be part of the World Series by Renault starting in 2015, with the opportunity for successful drivers to continue their racing careers in higher levels of motorsports.