IN A bid to inject some passion and excitement into a brand more commonly associated with planet-hugging electric cars and practical superminis, Renault has unveiled a new racing car with dramatic looks, a 486bhp V6 and enough downforce to glue it to an upside-down table.
Though it has been built to LMP1 (Le Mans prototype) standards, the Renaultsport RS 01 will compete in a new one-make Renaultsport Trophy championship in 2015 that will be part of the World Series.
According to Renaultsport, its design has been inspired by the world of concept cars and governed by “an absolute pursuit of aerodynamic downforce.”
Design influences include the Renault Étoile Filante (Shooting Star), the record-breaking vehicle that topped 180mph at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1956.
The RS 01 is certainly no shrinking violet with its low-slung profile, huge air vents and adjustable tail fin. Much of the car’s grip is provided by aerodynamic downforce which is, in part, achieved by drawing air through a central inlet in the nose of the car and expelling it through the extractors positioned on the hood. Renault says that the negative pressure the air flow creates, increases downforce at the front of the car.
Thanks to its carbon body shell, the RS 01 weighs just 1,100kg. Power is provided by a Nismo-prepared 3.8-litre V6 engine from the Nissan GT-R capable of taking the car to 180mph. Renault claims the car’s performance positions it between GT3 and DTM racing cars.