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R.S 01 quickly up to speed in debut UK season

Spotting a Renault Sport R.S 01 in the UK in 2017 has been rare – spotting one actually racing even rarer. But it has happened thanks to mighty efforts of race team Neil Garner Motorsport.
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The Malmesbury squad has run what is believed to be the only R.S 01 to find its way so far to UK shores in the Britcar Endurance championship.

Neil explains: “We took delivery of the car in February at the behest of a customer who wanted to race it in Britcar – it worked out more cost-effective to purchase and modify the R.S 01 than buy a car already built to the GT3 regulations that are used in Britcar Endurance.

“Even so we’ve still had to de-tune it; otherwise, around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit say, it would have been probably five seconds a lap faster than anything else! The chassis from Dallara; the 3.8 V6 twin-turbo Nissan GT-R derived engine – it is a very special piece of kit and has certainly attracted a lot of attention.”

That sounds like quite a technical challenge – to adapt the already highly sophisticated R.S 01 to regulations it was not originally intended for…

Neil adds: “It meant removing quite a lot of the aero and replacing the carbon brakes with steel brakes.

“Also in Britcar you have to use Dunlop tyres, not the Michelins that the R.S 01 was developed for.”

“We even had the car on a special rig to simulate how it would behave on the Dunlops.”

McLaren MP4-12c, Audi R8, Lamborghini Hurrican, Ferrari 458 GT3 – all, and more, have been rivals of the NGM R.S 01 on the Britcar Endurance grid which has totalled close to 30 runners per round. Significantly the majority of the opposition has

Many of those had already been developed to the GT3 regulations and the Dunlop tyres but the R.S 01, driven by Nick Holden and Andrew McKenna, has still held its own. In only its second outing – a four-hour race at Snetterton – it finished second, missing victory by just three seconds. At Donington Park it led briefly.

“It has been a very interesting technical exercise and the results in our first season with the R.S 01 have been very encouraging,” concludes Neil. “We are now awaiting delivery of some new parts from Renault Sport in France and can then start developing the car further for the 2017 season.

“De-tuning the car in effect has meant it has been under-stressed so it has been very reliable. We’ve had no real issues at any of the race events.

“We also found the R.S 01 to be very strong – there was a coming together with a Ferrari at the first race. The R.S 01 kept going with a few scars but finished the race; the Ferrari was a right-off. She’s a tough old girl.”