Renaultsport’s brand new turbo-powered Clio Cup race car, which will grace UK race circuits next year, made its British track debut at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk on Wednesday, 24th April, with Renault UK Clio Cup front-runner Josh Files lapping almost two seconds under the existing record.
Run by multiple title-winning squad Team Pyro, which is entering two of the new fourth generation cars for Files and Irish driver David Dickenson in Eurocup Clio this year, the 1.6-litre racer delivered a best time of 2m07.001 seconds (84.15mph) in dry and bright conditions at the 2.97-mile track.
By contrast, the current lap record for the third generation Clio race car, which is in its final season in the Renault UK Clio Cup this year, is 2m08.937s (82.89mph). That time was set in August 2011 by Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn.
Based on the striking new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC roadcar, the latest racing Clio features a 220hp turbo-powered engine, which is tuned by Oreca Magny-Cours and sealed at source, as well as a six-speed sequential gearbox, with paddle-shift gear change, and an AP Racing clutch.
For the first time ever in Clio Cup, the new car boasts adjustable dampers from ZF-Sachs with specific aluminium suspension wishbones. With such an increase in performance and lap time compared to the previous generation car, the turbo Clio benefits from improved AP Racing brakes.
Norwich racer Files, who will dovetail his existing Renault UK Clio Cup programme – in which he is currently third overall – with his first continental campaign in Eurocup Clio this year, relished the opportunity to get his first taste of the car he will pilot in the pan-European series…and he was blown away by its sheer pace and brilliance.
“The thing that impresses you the most when you first drive the new Clio is the engine power and the gearbox, there’s so much more power than the existing car and the gearbox is really good – the changes are lightning fast with the paddle shift”, said Files.
“The brakes do take a while to get used to but they are better once you’ve got your head around them, and they stop the car in the same distance as the other Clio which, considering you’re going so much faster, really is something. We ran 2.5 seconds quicker than the fastest of the current Clios [driven by JHR Developments’ Lee Pattison] which were also out, that’s a massive difference.”
He added: “It really looks awesome, very aggressive, and the whole car is properly like a touring car now. You can change so much more with this Clio, such as the dampers and things like that. It’s a real piece of kit and, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do. It’s an amazing car.”
While the new turbo-powered Clio is scheduled to race in the UK championship from 2014, teams will be able to take delivery of their cars, priced 39,900 Euros plus VAT, from September this year and organisers have put in place a special finance package.
Renault UK Communications Director Jeremy Townsend said: “Straight out of the box, to beat the lap record by two seconds is remarkable. We’ve enjoyed 22 fantastic years of Renault UK R5 and Clio Cup racing and the New Clio is going to continue the va va voom next year.”