Seven cars – central to some of Renault’s greatest endeavours – were shown off for the crowds. They included:
1902 Renault Type K
The Type K’s low weight enabled it to overcome far more powerful opposition on the hilly roads that made up the 1902 Paris to Vienne race as it brought Renault its first international victory. The driver was Marcel Renault (who with brothers Louis and Fernand had founded Renault in 1899). His average speed over 807 miles was an impressive 38.8mph.
1926 Renault 40CV Type NM des records
This car annihilated Bentley’s 24-hours average speed/distance record – one of the most sought-after of the day – thanks, in part, to an exceptionally long final drive that helped keep revs down and enabled the monstrous 9-litre engine to survive the attempt. Meanwhile a 14-man ‘pit crew’ had to top up fluids and change all four tyres in under a minute every hour. Ultimately the car completed its 24-hour run at an average of 107.9mph (13mph and 318 miles more than Bentley had managed).
1975 Renault 17 Groupe 5
Renault has a proud history of performance coupes, the handsomely styled front-wheel drive 17 being just one of those to carry the torch during the 1970s. Its lightweight (820kgs) ‘Groupe 5’ racing version competed in rallying from 1972 and 1975 with considerable success – particularly on the domestic stage. Its 1.8-litre engine produced 185hp transmitted through front wheel drive. The car’s top speed was over 120mph.
1984 Renault R5 Maxi Turbo
The R5 Maxi Turbo was, in essence, Renault’s answer to Lancia’s mid-engined Stratos on the World Rally scene. With a 1.4-litre 162hp engine positioned where normally one would normally find the rear seats, the boxy R5 Maxi Turbo was also (to meet rallying’s regulations) produced for the road, making it an instant icon. It won four World rallies – Monte Carlo 1981, Corsica 1983 and 1985 (all with French Renault legend Jean Ragnotti) and Portugal 1986 with local Joaquim Moutinho.
See here to see Ragnotti’s outrageous demonstration of the R5 Maxi Turbo up Goodwood’s famous hill course.
1979 Renault RS10 Formula 1 (static)
The car that brought Renault its first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory in, of all races, the French GP at Dijon (1979). Jean-Pierre Jabouille achieved the win which was truly ground-breaking as it was the first success in F1 for a car using a turbocharged engine – technology that Renault had single-handedly pioneered since entering F1 at the 1977 British GP.
1983 Renault RE40 Formula 1 car – static
The RE40, fitted with a 1.5-litre twin-turbocharged engine delivering 880hp, was Renault’s first Formula 1 car to use a carbon fibre chassis and very nearly won that year’s title. French driver Alain Prost won four times – France, Belgium, Great Britain and Austria – only to lose out to Brabham-BMW’s Nelson Piquet in the final race at Kyalami, South Africa.
2005 Renault R25 Formula 1 car - static
Renault’s first World Championship-winning car with Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard won seven grands prix that year – Malaysia, Bahrain, San Marino, European, France, Germany and China – en route to his first drivers’ title too. The R25’s 3.5-litre V10 produced over 800hp at an astonishing 15,500rpm.