Sam Philip04 March 2009

Gordini: back in the UK

Renault to bring back classic French sports car brand within a year

Renault 8 Gordini 1300

Renault will bring back the Gordini brand within a year, according to one of the firm's top bosses.

Stephen Norman, Renault's Marketing VP, told Top Gear that the French sports car marque will be revived for hot versions of the Twingo, Clio and Megane by 2010. Gordini, he said, would fulfil a role within Renault roughly equivalent to that of Cooper within Mini.

Norman also confirmed that Renault has canned the rumoured Alpina-badged roadster - which was expected to be a lightweight, rear-drive rival to the Mazda MX-5 - in the wake of the financial downturn.

Gordini competed in Formula One in the early 1950s, and later worked with Renault, tuning engines and creating hot editions of its road cars.

Gordini-badged cars haven't been seen in the UK for the best part of three decades, the last model to reach these shores being the Gordini 5 - which was actually a rebadged Alpine, but let's not split hairs - but Norman believes that the Gordini brand has plenty of cachet among British buyers.

However, you might have spotted a bit of an issue here. Renault already has a hot brand - Renaultsport - that is well established in the UK. Norman hinted that Renaultsport models would continue to run alongside the Gordini badge, but remained cryptic when we asked him how the two brands would differ. "Well, Renaultsports will be yellow, while Gordinis will be blue," he said. Hmm.

Quite fairly, Renaultsport sources in the UK are concerned that their brand will be ousted by Gordini, and have expressed worry that the Gordini brand doesn't have the recognition over here.

So over to you - and the guys at Renault are as interested to know about this as we are: what does Gordini mean to you? More than Renaultsport? And how would that lovely new Megane RS look in French racing blue? Thoughts please...

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