Any sports star dreams of making their debut on the biggest stage of all. In the motor racing universe, few stages come much bigger and grander than the history-steeped hairpins of the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit. This weekend, the newly reborn Renault Formula One Team makes its Monaco debut. However the twin R.S.16 F1 single-seaters won’t be the only flashes of yellow glimpsed racing through Rascasse.
Celebrating both 40 years of Renault Sport as well as Renault’s return to Formula One as a constructor, the French brand are unveiling an all new concept car, the Clio R.S.16, billed as the highest performance road-going Renault Sport vehicle ever.
For the ultimate Clio hot-hatch, only the ultimate Renault Sport powertrain suffices. Taking its beating 2.0litre heart from the Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R, the concept Clio pumps out 275bhp and 266lb/ft peak torque, placing it in the very upper echelons of the world’s top performing hot-hatches. Just five months in the making from sketchpad to paddock, the Clio R.S.16 doesn’t just borrow its engine from its bigger sister the Mégane. Various key components, from the transmission to the cooling system, have previously been tried and tested aboard the Trophy-R. Shoehorning all this into a considerably smaller overall package posed a challenge, but Renault Sport’s boffins accomplished this game of mechanical Tetris by beefing out the standard Clio’s body by 60mm.
Elsewhere, the concept Clio features a revised Akrapovič twin exhaust system to match the hatch’s more potent engine and suspension has also been tweaked to harness the full potential of the car’s enhanced performance.
A new set of 19-inch wheels plus LED chequered-pattern sidelamps lend the Clio R.S.16 its aggressive track-focused persona whilst a lick of trademark Renault Sport Liquid Yellow paintwork combined with gloss black details mirrors the Renault F1 team livery.
The Clio R.S.16 concept will be taken for its maiden spin around the world’s most famous street circuit in the capable hands of Renault F1 pilot Kevin Magnussen prior to this weekend’s Monaco GP. Following its public airing in the principality, Renault Sport’s hottest ever will be making tracks for the Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 23-26.
Get up close and personal with Renault Sport’s latest tour de force in the clip below.