Sports car racing today is in a wonderful spot, with Fords, Ferraris, Porsches, Lambos, Bentleys, McLarens and all kinds of road-going sports cars battling on track. And off to one side away from the action was this Renault. Well, not anymore.
The Renault Sport R.S. 01 was one of the cooler vehicles of recent years, something like a carbon fiber mid-engined Nissan GT-R for racing.
It might seem strange that this car could come from Renault, the company that you probably know best for, uh, hammering together family econoboxes, or maybe still not making a breakout electric car for a good half-decade by now.
There was an updated version of the Mégane Trophy from a few years later:
So the R.S. 01 is sort of a continuation of that theme, only it looks like an awesome Audi R8 knockoff instead of a hatchback that got sat on. As we’ve written before, the specs on this car are monstrous. It’s a carbon-tubbed purpose built race car so it weighs 2,500 pounds and puts out 542 horsepower with its twin turbo 3.8-liter V6 out of a Nissan GT-R.
Unlike a GT-R, the R.S. 01 is rear-wheel drive, but it makes up for the traction deficiency with a claimed 3,700 lbs of downforce at speed, more than two and a half times what you get in a top-flight supercar like a McLaren P1. Suspension is inboard pushrod Öhlins.
The R.S. 01 costs around $400,000. It is a very serious and wonderful machine.
It does not exist as a road car.
It’s what you call a “spec racer,” as it only races in Renault’s own bespoke series for the car called the Renault Sport Trophy, where for two seasons 30 drivers all in identical R.S. 01s compete against each other. Did you watch the Renault Sport Trophy? Did you read about the Renault Sport Trophy?
No. Nobody did. It just cost Renault a bunch of money to run a feeder series to nowhere, running cars you never see in showrooms or music videos or outside nightclubs or at track days or wherever you tend to see your average Audi R8 or whatever.
Renault has at least offered to help R.S 01 owners upgrade their cars to GT3 spec so they can at least share track space with all the real road-cars-turned-race-cars competing today, which sounds very wise.