With styling based on the powerful M�gane Renaultsport 225, the Megane Trophy race car will compete in its own one-make championship covering eight European race meetings beginning next Spring. Approximately 30 Megane Trophy racers will take part in the series on tracks in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Launched in April 2004, the current Mégane Renaultsport 225 on which the Trophy is based, has continued to attract hoards of fans, particularly as it’s as comfortable on long distances as it is on the track. However, much to the delight of driving fans everywhere, the Renaultsport team hasn’t been content with the plaudits flooding in for their latest creations, so they have now taken things one step further by enhancing the car’s brakes, chassis and steering to give the purest driving experience possible for the performance enthusiast and track day driver.
Engineered to be an even more driver-focused car, including a new sports-tuned chassis and suspension, unique Dunlop tyres and new Brembo brakes, the new Trophy is not a stereotypical ‘limited edition’ model with just a new body colour and more equipment, and will certainly give the recent spate of new hot hatch entrants to the sector much cause for concern. Powered by the same two-litre turbocharged engine as that found in the current Renaultsport 225, the Trophy will be one of the fastest hot hatches around, with a 0-62mph time which will keep Audi TT and Porsche Boxster owners honest. Mated to a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox, this class-leading engine develops 225hp at 5,500rpm and 300Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, with at least 90% of this torque available between 2,000 and 6,000rpm.
The chassis of the new Mégane Renaultsport 225 Trophy has been developed entirely for the pleasure of driving and benefits from unique components and settings. Improved body support results in lower roll angles, less pitching during acceleration and also less nosedive under braking. Cornering potential and overall road handling on all types of surface have also been improved thanks to a revised front suspension set-up with greater turn authority and significantly reduced understeer. Another boon for the new car, particularly for track day drivers, is that the Trophy’s electronic stability programme (ESP) system can now be switched off above 35mph. Although the system will still intervene should the car veer off line under heavy braking, its intervention threshold has been set higher and its operation made less intrusive.
Working in tandem with the ESP system, the front and rear disc brakes are now cross-drilled to aid cooling and optimum operation in wet conditions, plus the diameter of the master cylinder has been increased from 23.8mm to 25.4mm for better pedal feel and reduced travel. With such a high braking capacity, the Brake Assist system has been removed to allow drivers to make the most of the vehicle’s deceleration potential. The new 12-spoke, 18-inch anthracite alloy wheels are each 1.5kg lighter than before, while the new Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 235/40 R18 tyres which feature a special silicon-based tread compound, have been chosen for their exceptional wet traction and grip, excellent dry grip and enhanced steering performance.
Aside from the changes made under the skin, the Mégane Renaultsport 225 Trophy limited edition can be distinguished on the outside by its unique ‘Nimbus’ metallic finish and 18’’ anthracite-coloured alloys. The performance theme continues inside, but not at the expense of interior comfort. The Mégane Renaultsport 225 Trophy features new sports front seats, plus blue seatbelts and stitching on the gearknob, gaiter and steering wheel. In keeping with the car’s sporting nature, carbon fibre inserts appear in the centre console and door handle surrounds while a numbered plaque will also appear in the lower part of the dashboard to emphasise the car’s exclusivity.