Two years ago, Honda redefined what a front-wheel drive car was capable of on Germany's famous Nürburgring, when it set a 7:43.8 lap in the Civic Type R. Last month, however, Renault reclaimed the record with a wild new hatchback, the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R. With driver Laurent Hugron at the wheel, the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R ran a 7:40.1 around the Nordschleife.
Well, it's a little more complicated than that. that in the past, the clock for a Nürburgring lap time started at the end of the start-finish straight, and ended at the beginning of that same start-finish straight. At, 12.8 miles, this measurement is actually around 0.14 miles shy of the complete, 12.94-mile lap of the Norschleife. This year, track officials started regulating lap times themselves, and they've mandated that a lap time starts and ends at the start-finish line, just as it would anywhere else.
Using the old timing method—same as Honda did with Civic Type R in 2017—the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R ran a 7:40.1. Under the Nürbugring's new regulations, the Mégane set a 7:45.399.
Confusing? Absolutely. But what's easy to understand is that the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R is a really quick car. It has the same 300-hp 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder as the Mégane R.S. Trophy, but Renault Sport says the Trophy-R is up to 286 pounds lighter than the standard Trophy. Renault Sport isn't releasing full details on the Trophy-R yet, but it did say the aero and suspension has been revised over that of the standard Trophy.
From the pictures the company released, we can see the Trophy-R rides on Bridgestone S007 tires wrapped around carbon-fiber wheels. It also has an Akrapovič exhaust, Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension components. The regular Mégane R.S. and R.S. Trophy are available with a dual-clutch gearbox, but amazingly, the R.S. Trophy-R used to set this lap time has a six-speed manual.
Renault Sport says it'll only build a few hundred examples of the Trophy-R, with sales beginning later this year. Since Renault doesn't sell cars in the US, we'll just have to be jealous of our European friends who can get their hands on these.
Now, the spotlight turns back onto Honda. We hope it's got a hotter Civic Type R in the works.