It was over a year ago that we first caught wind of this Renault Megane rally car project. That’s when stunt driver Guerlain Chicherit first revealed his plans for the World Rallycross Championship. He showcased it during a pre-season test session late last month, but the car was still covered in camouflage. Now he and his partners have revealed the machine in full. And it looks pretty awesome.
Designed as much for “show” as for “go,” this Megane RX was developed and built not by Renaultsport, but by Prodrive. The British motorsport consulting firm has that helped Mini and Subaru develop its victorious rally machines. It’s also the same company that effectively runs Aston Martin‘s racing department, and launched Honda’s previous F1 team.
Its latest project takes the fourth-generation Renault Megane and transforms it for rallycross duty. The specially crafted rally car is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four developed by Prodrive to meet the FIA’s Rallycross Supercar regulations. According to the constructor, the engine develops over 600 horsepower, channeled to all four wheels.
The five-speed sequential transmission and limited slip differentials (front and rear) are all based on Xtrac units. Ohlins double wishbones suspend both ends with four-way adjustable dampers. And in a particularly interesting twist, the 300mm disc brakes and four-pot calipers are mounted inboard – not inside the 17-inch OZ Racing wheels where you’d expect to find them. That measure helps reduce unsprung mass and keep the vehicle’s center of gravity as close to the midline as possible. And that, in turn, ought to help Chicherit pivot the machine around those tight rallycross courses.
“In my time at Prodrive, I have never seen so much excitement among our staff about a new car,” said Prodrive director John Gaw. “The design team have thought about every aspect and introduced ideas never before seen in motorsport. I truly believe this is a game-changer in RX.”
The rallycross Renault will make its competition debut when championship kicks off in Spain next weekend. After that, the circus heads over to Portugal, then Belgium, the UK, Norway, and Sweden. Then it’s off to Canada, back to France and Latvia, across the pond again to Texas, back to Germany, and on to South Africa for the season finale.