If you were one of the French hot hatch enthusiasts who was disappointed by this week's news that Peugeot was getting out of the game, take heart – rival automaker Renault has announced a new line of what it does best, while reviving a long-dormant historic nameplate in the process.
Named after Renault racing engineer extraordinaire Amédée Gordini, the Gordini badge became a symbol of success for the French automaker. The iconic R8 Gordini (pictured at right) dominated rallying in the mid-Sixties and gave birth to its own one-mark series with the Renault 1300 Gordini. Four decades later, Renault is bringing the name back for an exclusive new line of hot hatches.
Positioned above the existing Renaultsport lineup, the Gordini range will be mechanically identical to its RS counterparts, but distinguish themselves with retro styling touches (like French racing blue paint scheme with white stripes) and an extra dose of exclusivity. The first product in the new range, the Twingo Gordini RS (teased above), is slated to be unveiled at L'Atelier Renault – the company's flagship store on the Champs Elysées in Paris – on November 25 before its market launch next spring. Gordini edition Clio and Megane are slated to follow suite, all decked out in the sub-brand's iconic French racing blue with white racing stripes.
Click on the thumbnails below for a mega gallery of Gordini archive photos, or follow the jump to check out a Gordini video chock-full of historic footage. And while you're back there, you can read the full press release, too.
Related GalleryRenault Gordini archival photographs
RENAULT REVIVES GORDINI
The little blue bombshells with two white stripes are back!
The famous "Gorde" was a symbol of French success that thrilled several generations of motorists who were thirsty for sporty sensations at the wheel of a fun car. The French blue, white stripes and radiator grill with its four round headlights all contributed to an eternal identity that is an important part of Renault's sporting heritage.
In a few months, new Gordini-labeled versions will supplement the Renault Sport range and strengthen Renault's offering in the compact sports segment. The fashionable and sporty Gordini label still possesses its exclusive and sporting values. The Gordini versions, derived from sports models that are already renowned for their outstanding performance, will appeal to lovers of thrills at the wheel and a distinctive design. Twingo Gordini RS will be unveiled on 25 November at L'Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysées in Paris as part of the "Christmas in Blue" exhibition. It will be launched next spring. Clio Gordini RS will be launched a few months later.
GORDINI: RENAULT'S SPORTING HERITAGE
Amédée Gordini, who developed almost 200,000 Renault vehicles over a 20-year period, achieved some of the brand's greatest sporting achievements.
Born in 1899, just about one year after the launch of the very first Renault vehicle, Amédée Gordini demonstrated his mechanical skills from a very young age. After working as a mechanic on single-seaters, his R8 Gordinis finished 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the 1964 Tour of Corsica rally. In 1966, the 1300 version heralded the birth of the Gordini Cup. The R8 Gordini delighted lovers of fun driving for a whole decade.
It even featured in French films alongside famous stars, including Romy Schneider, Alain Delon and Lino Ventura, and this small sports sedan was a big hit with the younger generation of drivers. The trend had been set. Gordini became a symbol of success for a whole generation and came to embody a state of mind. The spirit of a triumphant France that shared its successes with everyone.
GORDINI: THE FASHIONABLE AND SPORTY LABEL OF THE RENAULT SPORT RANGE
With its elegant finish and strong design codes, the Gordini label builds on the renowned expertise of Renault Sport, and offers a fresh interpretation of its values.
Renault naturally opted to build on the reputation of Renault Sport Technologies (RST) in order to transform the Gordini legend into a reality. Renault's sports branch has prolonged the Gordini heritage through its renowned expertise in motor sport and the development of its sports models.
RST is the world's leading organizer of motor sport events. Since 2005, almost 3 million fans have attended World Series by Renault meetings, the Megane Trophy and Clio Cup races and special events for motor sport enthusiasts. RST is now a leading player in the motor sports sector. Both in competition and series production, Renault's sports models, such as the Megane RS, Clio RS and Twingo RS, developed by RST, are acknowledged as figuring amongst the best-performing vehicles in their category.