2010 Formula Renault 2.0 undergoing testing at Rockingham, UK – Click above for high-res image gallery
No single automaker occupies more steps on the formula racing ladder than Renault. In addition to running their own Formula One team (for the time being, at least) and powering both the GP2 Series and the upcoming GP3, the French automaker's motorsport division organizes the Formula Renault 1.6 and Formula Renault 2.0 championships worldwide, as well as the World Series by Renault (formerly known as Formula Renault 3.5). Its enough to keep the folks over at Renaultsport busy at every turn, and gives aspiring racers a framework through which to advance.
Since taking over in 2000 from the Formula France series founded in 1968, Formula Renault 2.0 has been running chassis made by Tatuus, a racing firm in the same vein as Dallara or Reynard. But Renaultsport is replacing the nine-year-old chassis with a new carbon-fiber unit built in-house.
As you might have guessed from the name, the series employs 2.0-liter engines, the 16-valve four-cylinder F4R832 sourced from the Clio RS, mated to a seven-speed sequential gearbox. Although the sticker price for the new car has gone up by five grand to 57,000 euros ($85k), significant energies were invested in reducing operational costs, which drop by ten percent for the new car. All the while, the new chassis raises performance to the level of higher formulae and meets the FIA's crash standards laid out for Formula 3. The car has already undergone over 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) of testing on nine different circuits across Europe, including most recently at the Rockingham Motor Speedway at the hands of 2007 Formula Renault UK Champion Duncan Tappy (pictured above).
Considering that such noteworthy current F1 drivers as Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica all passed through Formula Renault on their way up, and that Kimi Raikkonen moved into F1 directly from the series, the new FR2 could be one of the most important unveilings for the future of motorsports. Details in the press releases after the jump and photos in the gallery below.
Faster, more modern, cheaper
The development phase for New Formula Renault 2.0 is drawing to a close with more than 6,000km driven over seventeen days of testing on nine European circuits. This new single seater, developed and manufactured by Renault Sport Technologies is faster, while being a reliable as ever and with basic running costs 10% lower than its predecessor.
The replacement for the world's best selling single-seater is truly ready for the track. New Formula Renault 2.0 has proved its reliability and its capability in a rigorous Research and Development programme. First impressions, New Formula Renault 2.0 is more competitive and its handling is closer to cars from higher formulas. As with its predecessor, New Formula Renault 2.0 is the ideal car for training the F1 drivers of tomorrow, such as Kimi Raïkkonen, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Haikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica, Romain Grosjean or Jaime Alguersuari, all of whom have passed through the ranks of Formula Renault 2.0.
The operating costs for New Formula Renault 2.0 are 10% lower than the current version. At 57,000€ (ex-VAT*), this car benefits from the most up-to-the-minute technical developments, including a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox. A single set of ratios is selected for each season and the semi-automatic gearbox allow, among other things, to avoid overspeed. Even the design of the car has been optimized thanks to Renault Sport Technologies' competition experience, in order to reduce the number of parts , which allows significant economies of scale. Furthermore, assembly will take place at the Alpine plant with an optimized process. Each car will be inspected and prepared for racing prior to delivery.
New Formula Renault 2.0 has been conceived to be as economical as possible. With this in mind, significant work has gone into the development of the tyres. A set is now able to drive more than 200km. As a result the allocation of tyres goes from 33 sets to 29 in 2010. As for the brakes, the efficiency has been optimized in order to enhance their longevity. A set of disks now has a service-life of 1,500km and a set of pads, 600km. As a result the driving costs have fallen by 15% with the advent of the new version.
Finally, the costs for the engine, as fitted to Clio Renault Sport MkII, which develops 205bhp, are close to those of the current version, with a major service recommended every 5,500km.
Safety is also key to New Formula Renault 2.0. Thanks to in depth work and several safety tests, New Formula Renault 2.0 is the first single-seater to be homologated to FIA F3 2001 standards. Driver safety is significantly enhanced, making New Formula Renault 2.0 a benchmark.
New Formula Renault 2.0 remains true to its philosophy. This car, which takes to the track in 2010 for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and in all national championships, is aimed at young drivers who are just discovering the workings of a real race car. The handling of the new car will allow them to understand more easily than ever how it feels to drive a Formula Renault 3.5. The training programme, unique of its type, which Renault Sport Technologies has put in place, also reaches new heights with New Formula Renault 2.0.
*Price subject to entry in an official Renault Sport Championship.
FIRST UK TEST FOR NEW FORMULA RENAULT 2.0 RACE CAR
Northamptonshire's Rockingham Motor Speedway provided the setting for the first UK test of the new Formula Renault 2.0 race car.
Former Formula Renault UK Champion Duncan Tappy, who took a total of 10 victories during his 2007 winning season, was tasked with piloting the new 2.0-litre car which makes its competitive debut at the start of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship.
Tappy completed a handful of laps around the 1.94-mile International circuit before returning to the pits to pass on his feedback to watching teams and drivers.
The new car replaces the current Tatuus-built model and features a new chassis, seven-speed sequential gearbox, and a 2.0-litre, 16v normally-aspirated F4R832 engine. The car is currently being built at the Renaultsport factory in Dieppe, France, with the first deliveries expected before the end of the year.
Commenting after the test Tappy said: "I last tested the outgoing car in 2008 which meant I had something fresh to compare the new car too. My first impressions are that it is a much more together, more stable car which I believe drivers will find more enjoyable and ultimately more rewarding to drive.
"The car lends itself to more of an F3 driving style and at high speeds you can really feel the aerodynamics working. The paddle-shift gearbox is also very easy to use with smooth changes both up and down. Overall I have to say it's a better all-round package."