Long time Mégane R.S. test and development driver Laurent Hurgon lapped the 5.8km Japanese Grand Prix circuit of Suzuka in a time of two minutes, 25.454 seconds.
The time is three seconds under the previous benchmark for a front-wheel-drive production car around Suzuka and adds to the records already achieved by the Trophy-R at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium and Nürburgring (Nordschleife), Germany.
Notably, like Spa and the Nürburgring, Suzuka is full of fast demanding bends – 18 in all – including the swooping Turn 1, ‘S’ Curves sequence, Spoon Curve, plus the notorious 130 R.
The record is bound to excite Japan’s Renault Sport considerable fan base – now at around 10,000 enthusiasts.
In fact, recent data put Japan as Renault Sport’s leading world market for the R.S. range – ahead even of France and Germany – and the third for Mégane R.S.
Fifty new Trophy-R models, including some equipped with the Carbon-Ceramic Pack, have already been reserved by Renault Japan.
Thirty-two right-hand-drive versions are designated for the UK from a limited global production run of 500. Prices start from £51,140.
Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Cars, commented: “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.”
Compared to the R.S. Trophy, the Trophy-R, equipped with the same 300hp engine, owes its increased pace to weight reduction (up to 130 kg), aerodynamic improvements and bespoke suspension and chassis enhancements.
It is the most performance focused car ever produced by Renault Sport which first started its Mégane R.S. range some 15 years ago.
A real feather in the new Trophy-R’s cap was it being crowned ‘Performance Car of the Year’ at last month’s TopGear.com Awards ceremony.
This ‘TG24’ award followed a marathon assessment of 15 of 2019’s most exciting road, race and rally cars at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Amongst the cars the Trophy-R was up against were the McLaren 720S Track Pack, Porsche Cayman GT4 and Mercedes-AMG A45.
TopGear.com summed up the Renault’s victory: “Fitted with a dizzying array of exotic components – from CF wheels to ceramic brakes – our Performance Car of the Year is unlike any other hot hatch.”
“It takes guts to ask Porsche money for a family hatch, even if said family hatch has had an unprecedented amount of effort lavished upon it in pursuit of speed and lightness.”
Patrice Ratti continued: “We’re thrilled that the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R has been awarded the Performance Car of the Year accolade by TopGear.com.
“This achievement recognises the hard work of our talented Renault Sport team in creating a car that delivers motorsport focus to the road.
“With its lap records at famous circuits around the world, including the production car front wheel drive record at the Nürburgring, the exceptional Mégane continues to add to trophy cabinet”.