Founded in 1899 Renault were not celebrating anything in particular at this years festival of speed but still had a potpurri presence that spanned their competition history as shown by today’s collection of photographs.
In 1902 Marcel Renault drove a Type K similar to Renault built replica above to victory in the 990 km / 615 mile Paris-Vienna covering the distance in 15 hours 47 mins to average 38.95 bone shaking miles per hour.
By 1925 Renault’s top model was the 40CV one of which one the 1925 Monte Carlo Rally. The following year built this aerodynamic Coupé version for a crack at the 24 hour distance record which it won by averaging 107 mph on the banked Montlhéry Circuit outside Paris.
After the ’39-’45 War Dieppe garage proprietor Jean Rédélé started racing Renault 4’s with considerable and founded Alpine to capitalise on it in 1954. For 1965 Alpine built the M65 model with a 1.3 litre / 79 cui tuned Renault motor powerful enough for the M65 to be timed at 266 kph / 165 mph at Le Mans.
Fast forward 12 years and the now Renault owned Alpine were not only returning to Le Mans which they won out right in 1978, but they were building the mid engine Peugeot Renault Volvo V6 powered Alpine A310 sports car. A successor to the Alpine A110, Guy Fréquelin drove an A310 like the one above to win the 1977 French Rally Championship.
Alpines success at Le Mans gave them a spring board from which to launch their Formula One team in 1977. Translating the theoretical advantages of turbo charging on to the track in the sports top table proved time consuming and costly but by 1979 Formula One victories started to be achieved. However the unreliability of their ground breaking adventure kept Renault from ever winning a world championship with their turbo charged V6. The 1982 RE 40, driven by Michele Leclere above, came closest, with Alain Prost and Eddie Cheever helping the marque finish second in the Constructors Championship to Ferrari and Alain 2nd in the drivers championship with 4 victories to Nelson Piquet driving a turbo BMW powered Brabham.
At Goodwood Renault showed us a view of their future in the form of the fully working 2013 concept car the Twin Run which like the Renault 5 Turbo Maxi and Clio V6 has a mid mounted motor boasting 320 hp. No plans have been announced for the vehicle to go into production in this configuration… yet.
Thanks for joining me on this “Driving The Change” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
01/07/14 Errata Tim Murray has kindly pointed out that I incorrectly identified the Renault Type K as a type AK 90CV, when this post first went out, apologies for any confusion.