Our tame racing driver helps kicks off Evans's CarFest motor show...
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The ‘Ring has a new FWD record…
The FWD battle has hotted up in recent times. The Trophy-R lapped the German track in a total time of 7min 54secs, smashing the previous front-wheel drive record of 7m58s set by a Seat Leon Cupra. Not half bad for a “family hatch”, albeit one that costs almost £10,000 more than the Leon.
And let’s face it, this new Trophy-R isn’t really a family hatch anymore - it doesn’t have any rear seats for starters. Renault has put the Megane on the most extreme weight loss regime since Christian Bale slimmed down for the Machinist. There’s no rear windscreen wiper – saving one whole kilogram – no radio, no air con, no noise insulation, and the wheels are lighter, as are the seats. All in, the Trophy-R is nearly 100kg lighter than the normal Megane RS, no slouch itself.
But that’s not all. Power from the 2.0-litre turbo engine has been increased to 271bhp, torque remains at 266lb ft, and it’s been fitted with a titanium Akrapovic exhaust (saving yet more weight). There are adjustable Ohlins dampers – you can tweak them from inside the cabin – as well as Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres.
Safe to say that all this is squarely aimed at the track day enthusiast. Like the Toyota GT86, there’s even enough room in the boot for four spare tyres, and you can get special wheel covers so you don’t get the boot mucky.
None of this comes cheap, though, and as ever with these sort of track day specials, Renault charges more for less. The Trophy-R is £36,430, a steep increase of £7,500 on the normal Trophy. Good value for a record-breaker?