Details of Renault’s 600 hp Megane R.S. RX revealed
Prodrive has revealed technical details of the Mégane R.S. RX that will be campaigned by GC Kompetition in the World Rallycross Championship. The new Supercar WRX is based on the Renault Mégane IV and has been designed from the ground up by Prodrive to the latest World RX regulations and features a bespoke engine and several unusual features, including ‘in-board’ brakes, which enable the use of lighter upright assembly, and means that the car’s unsprung mass can be reduced.
Prodrive focussed on optimising the car for the WRX regulations in the three key areas: the powertrain; suspension and sub frame. The design team created a master CAD model of the whole car for a fully integrated design and used comprehensive CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) analysis: FEA (Finite Element Analysis) for safety and performance critical items; and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) for the cars aerodynamics and engine cooling.
“In my time at Prodrive, I have never seen so much excitement among our staff about a new car. 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,” enthused Prodrive Motorsport Managing Director, John Gaw.
In order to create the vehicle architecture, multiple layouts were considered and the primary parameters of the car were derived. With the focus on centre of gravity and minimal unsprung mass, a longitudinal layout for the powertrain was decided upon as the best solution. This enabled Prodrive to design a fully bespoke four cylinder, two litre turbo engine to avoid any compromises and fully optimise the drivetrain. The entire engine and all the components were designed by the company’s engine team and built and dyno tested at its in-house engine facility. With a bespoke engine came a bespoke five speed sequential longitudinal gearbox developed in conjunction with Xtrac.
Unlike all existing FIA rally and most top level rallycross supercars, the Megane R.S. RX has double wishbone suspension all round, instead of the more common McPherson struts. This offers a significant camber gain improvement which will be particularly useful in high speed corners on the WRX calendar. The suspension concept also provides a reduction in both unsprung mass and mechanical friction, and has also benefitted from a close partnership with Ohlins to develop a bespoke damper.
Having a bespoke longitudinal engine enabled Prodrive to introduce ‘in-board’ brakes on the Megane, with the brake caliper fixed to the gearbox on the front axle and to the differential on the rear axle. This in turn allowed for an ultra-light upright assembly and unique lightweight wheel design, as it no longer needed to house the brakes. These combined give the Megane R.S. RX an unsprung mass at each corner of less than 30kg.
“I’m really excited to see where the Mégane R.S RX will come out when the lights turn green in Barcelona,” said Guerlain Chicherit, GC Kompetition team principal and driver. “Personally, I’m more confident than ever going into an event, as Team Principal and driver of GCK and whilst debuting a brand new chassis & custom engine that has seen a lot of time and energy go into its innovative design. There’s a lot of work still to do, really, we’re still developing the Megane R.S RX but I can’t help but be excited!”