Crazy cars. Over the years, Renault Sport has become famous for unleashing special projects that redefine what’s possible – the 5 Turbo, the Spider, the Clio V6, the Megane R26.R – all have become automotive legends. So, how better to celebrate 40 years of Renault Sport than with another Skunkworks special?
Clio R.S.16 has set the internet alight since its reveal at Monaco, so standby for the seven things you must know about Dieppe’s latest legend-in-waiting.
#1 The most powerful road car Renault Sport has ever built
By taking the turbo-charged variant of the legendary F4R engine and squeezing it into the engine bay of the Mk4 Clio RS, the team have not only equalled the output of the Nurburgring-destroying Megane Trophy-R, but have surpassed their previous records for power to weight, with the R.S.16 weighing in at 225hp/tonne.
#2 Produced in only five months
Led by Maurizio Suppa, the development team have produced R.S.16 in only five months, drawing on expertise from not only the Renault Sport cars team, but the new Renault Sport Formula One Team to create a memorable celebration of 40 years of the brand.
#3 Motorsport expertise throughout
The development team didn’t just stop at dropping in the most powerful engine ever seen in a Clio – they took lessons learned from our competition programmes to enhance the entire package. The rear wing (which provides up to 40kg of downforce) comes directly from the Clio Cup race programme. The 50% stiffer rear beam axle is the same as fitted to the Clio R3T rally car. The adjustable Ohlins dampers are the same as fitted to the record-breaking Megane 275 Trophy-R. The combined result of these changes is a car that is composed at speed, but light on its feet in the corners.
#4 Bespoke from the ground up
Working with famed Renault Sport collaborators from past special editions has yielded a wide range of performance parts geared towards ultimate road and track domination. Larger front discs (350mm) courtesy of Brembo ensure maximum stopping power. The wizards at Akrapovic have crafted a bespoke twin-pipe titanium exhaust system to help extract the most from the F4R motor. Long-standing partner Michelin have provided their Pilot Sport tyre, crucial to delivering all the available performance to the tarmac.
#5 Lightened, not stripped out
In the quest to achieve 225hp/tonne, the team have used lessons learnt at the Nurburgring to achieve the optimum balance of mass and performance. A lighter, thinner Lithium battery saves 15kg, the rear seats have been deleted and the front seats are now fixed-back bucket items from Recaro. The rest of the interior has been retained, with only small changes needed to accommodate the 6-speed manual gearbox in the centre console.
#6 A new spin on the Clio look
Aside from the revised rear wing, the rest of R.S.16 sports major visual and functional changes from the standard car. The bodywork has been stretched by 60mm with composite wings and side skirts to accommodate the PerfoHub front suspension and wider Speedline wheels. New R.S. VISION mirrors the famous RS logo and provides a range of lighting options in place of the conventional DRLs and fog lights.
#7 Coming soon
After its dynamic debut in the hands of Kevin Magnussen at the Monaco Grand Prix, next stop for the R.S. 16 will be the UK for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The new car will demonstrate some high speed runs on the famous hill climb course and be available to view in the paddock area.