Designed under the management of Laurens van den Acker, the R.S. 01 aims at becoming an iconic symbol of Renault’s design and sporting DNA.
The overall look is a combination of different elements: the smooth, sensual surfaces and curves, first introduced with the Dezir, are mixed with racetrack-oriented aerodynamic elements: a host of air intakes and outtakes, wings, and the massive front splitter, rear diffuser and wing.
These give the car an while managing to maintain a rather clean and uncluttered look, especially when viewed from the side and rear.
This interesting result is also achieved through the use of color contrasts: the mix of yellow and black elements provides a distinctive graphic identity and helps reading the overall shapes.
The technical specifications of the R.S. 01 include a carbon monocoque that contributes to an overall weight of just 1,100 kg and an engine developing over 500 hp, which allows it to reach a top speed of over 300 kph.
From 2015, Renaultsport R.S. 01 will be one of the stars of World Series by Renault in a new championship, the Renaultsport Trophy, a springboard for the professional GT and Endurance championships.
Below we report selected information from Renault’s official design story, and an interview with with Éric Diemert Design Director at Renault Sport Technologies.
Interview with Éric Diemert – Design Director, Renault Sport Technologies
What were the requirements concerning the design of Renaultsport R.S. 01?
“Renault Sport Technologies wanted to develop a car exploring a new dimension in performance. So it was important for this impetus to be visible in design. Also, the reach of Renaultsport R.S. 01 had to extend beyond the range to make it an iconic brand model. This is why it looks nothing like a production vehicle. The process was similar to designing a concept car in terms of the freedom enjoyed by the team, so that was really exciting.”
What were the main stages in the process leading up to presentation of the mock-up at the Moscow Motor Show?
“All our projects begin with an in-house competition. From 22nd November, 2013, as part of this first phase, sixteen designers from our network of Design centres in France and other countries were able to give free rein to their creative drive. At the end of three weeks, we chose the work of Akio Shimizu, a young Japanese designer working at the Guyancourt exterior design studio. His project was a natural choice for its strength of expression and immediate connection with Renault’s identity. We then made a digital mock-up of his drawings. This took us into the technical phase, based on constant small-loop exchanges with Renault Sport Technologies and Dallara. The aim was to establish the best possible balance between our requirements in terms of design and aerodynamics. With each iteration, performance was verified by means of CFD calculations. We then milled a full-size mock-up. This stage was crucial to validating the vehicle’s proportions and attitude. The result showed our decisions to be sound, so subsequent changes primarily concerned fine-tuning of the body lines, air intakes and extractors. The definitive design was frozen on 25th April.”
How would you assess the result?
“First, we need to emphasize that the entire project was completed in five months. That’s a particularly short time frame compared with the production projects we’re used to. Renaultsport R.S.01 expresses a successful convergence achieved against challenging constraints relating to the quest for top-level performance. With hindsight, I would say that the aerodynamics issue largely guided but – above all – stimulated our creativity! The end product is a source of great pride for the entire team. We’re impatient now to see the cars on the starting grid for their first race!”
With every stroke of the design pen, in the body lines and in the detail, the aim was twofold: to make Renaultsport R.S. 01 an iconic Renault vehicle, and to contribute to track performance through a constant quest for aerodynamic efficiency.
Like all the Renault vehicles designed under the management of Laurens van den Acker, Renaultsport R.S. 01 displays a prominent logo, the key feature on the front end. The vehicle’s impressive width of 2,000 mm – for a height of 1,116 mm – is reinforced by the signature of the LED daytime-running lights positioned along the brake cooling scoops.
At the centre of the grille, the air is “sucked in” and channelled by the stem of the chassis towards the two water coolers. It is then expelled through the extractors positioned on the hood. The negative pressure thereby created increases downforce at the front of the car. The large blade of the lower splitter and the stepped flat bottom also contribute to aerodynamics at the front. The two fins on the side of the bumper generate vortices that limit the turbulence of the rotating wheels.
Underlined by the graphic pattern running from the headlights to the side air intakes, the low-slung profile is characteristic of a GT with a central rear engine. The imbalance in the overhangs is dictated by vehicle architecture and also by efforts to optimise weight distribution. The windows extending back to the airfoil and the curved shape of the rear bonnet further underline the choices made in design.
The sculpted lines of Renaultsport R.S. 01 bring to mind the concept car DeZir, presented in 2010. In his preliminary study, designer Akio Shimizu was also inspired by Renault Étoile Filante (shooting star), the record-breaking vehicle that topped 300 kph at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1956!
The air flow is channelled by the lower splitter into extractors positioned behind the front wheels. Running along the doors, these extractors change shape to become intercooler scoops. This provides effective cooling for the turbochargers.
Looking beyond the adjustable fin, the rear diffuser “pushes”’ Renaultsport R.S. 01 to the track, extracting the air flow sweeping under the flat bottom. This system has a huge advantage in that it creates no drag and so does not penalise top speed.
The diffuser is topped by a twin exhaust and LED lights, completing the original light signature that extends across the width of Renault Sport R.S. 01 almost in its entirety.
Carbon body shell
Supervised by engineer Christophe Chapelain, Renaultsport R.S. 01 was designed in cooperation with benchmark technical partners.
The carbon fibre monocoque was a natural choice in order to meet objectives in terms of weight and safety. Italy’s Dallara was responsible for designing and building the chassis, in the same way as for Formula Renault 3.5.
The tub, which includes the 150 litre fuel tank, features a steel roll cage at the top. At the front, a crash box absorbs energy in the event of frontal impact. Shaped like a boat’s stem, the design contributes to aerodynamic efficiency.
Another crash box attached to the gearbox, plays the same role at the rear of the car. The entire assembly respects FIA LMP1 2014 standards to ensure safety.
Completing the list of safety features are a collapsible steering column, and a Sabelt bucket seat with a six-point harness, compatible with the HANS® system.
Grip is provided primarily by aerodynamic downforce and this is reflected in suspension design. In the same way as on sports prototypes, a conventional double wishbone layout has been adopted with pushrods and Öhlins dampers. Adjustable for compression and rebound, the systems are positioned on either side of the body at the front, and longitudinally above the gearbox at the rear.
The braking system combines 380 mm carbon discs from PFC Brakes with six-piston calipers. This choice is an excellent compromise between efficiency and endurance. Renaultsport R.S. 01 is also fitted with Bosch Motorsport ABS.
The partner of Renault Sport Technologies for all its motorsport products, Michelin has developed special 18-inch tyres, mounted on wheels of original design with a central nut.