Renaultsport Twingo R2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

For such a tiny car, Renault's punchy little Twingo RS sure has been getting a lot attention lately. First came the launch of the Twingo Gordini edition, reviving a long-dormant racing nameplate for the French automaker. Then Jeremy Clarkson took it for a ride (and a swim) around (and under) Belfast. Now Renault's motorsport division has released the a pair of entry-level rally machines based on the pint-size hot hatch.

Called the Twingo Renaultsport R1 and R2, these are Renault's latest offerings to aspiring rally drivers getting in at the bottom. They pack 1.6-liter 16-valve four-bangers pumping out a substantial 160 horsepower – 27 over the standard RS – driving the front wheels through a five-speed sequential gearbox with a slip-resistant dog clutch and wheel-mounted shift paddles. There's little to distinguish the rally machines from their street-going counterparts, but inside, the interior has been stripped out and fitted with a roll cage.

Upgrading from the R1 to the R2 (which can be performed at any later point, helpful if your team is dependent on prize cash to re-invest into the car) gains Sabelt buckets with six-point harness and a few more bells and whistles. The best part? They're apparently still street legal (in Europe at least) so you can drive it home after the rally instead of loading it onto a truck. A fully equipped Renaultsport Twingo R2 will set you back €38,980, or the equivalent of $58k in American greenbacks...if only it were actually available here. You know the drill: details in the press release after the jump, high-res photos in the gallery below.


Related GalleryRenaultsport Twingo R2

[Source: Renault]


PRESS RELEASE:

RENAULT LAUNCHES ENTRY-LEVEL RALLY TWINGO

Renaultsport Technologies is expanding its range of rally cars with the introduction of Twingo Renaultsport R2 and Twingo Renaultsport R1. Designed for drivers looking for a modern, affordable and reliable rally car, these two next generation products make up the entry-level of a comprehensive range of competition cars that also includes the Clio Renaultsport R3 Access and Maxi.

In addition to its success in world's top motorsport events, Renaulsport's history also belongs to the models that have enabled entire generations of drivers to pursue their passion for the sport. In the same spirit as cars such as the R8 Gordini, the 5 GT Turbo and the group N Clio Renaultsport Williams, the Twingo Renaultsport R2 becomes the latest affordable sports model aimed at aspiring professional drivers.

Twingo Renaultsport R2

Like the Twingo Renaultsport 133 road car, the competition version offers day-to-day driveability and first-class performance. The responsive, balanced chassis features the same characteristics as the production model and has been prepared specially to offer excellent reliability and enhanced performance levels whilst keeping servicing costs competitive. In addition to strengthening certain components, Twingo Renaultsport R2 is fitted with bump- and rebound-adjustable shock absorbers, allowing it to be set up for differing conditions and driving styles.

The specifically-prepared 4-cylinder 1.6-litre16V engine develops 160hp (118kW) at 7,250rpm - an extra 27hp compared to the production engine. Combined with a five-speed 'dog' sequential gearbox and steering column mounted shift lever, the engine generates a maximum torque of 160Nm at 5,500rpm, giving it a wide power band.

From the design phase and right through testing, Renault Sport Technologies has taken the needs of amateur drivers into account. Making use of its extensive expertise in designing rallying cars, the technical team developed an accessible, easy-to-drive and attractively priced car, both to buy and run.

Twingo Renaultsport R2 already has a little brother: an R1 version has also been awarded FIA homologation. This model allows a much wider audience access to rallying at a greatly reduced cost.

Renaultsport Technologies is the first manufacturer to offer a complete range of Group R cars, from Twingo Renaultsport R1 to Clio Renaultsport R3 Maxi.

Twingo Renaultsport R2 comes in the form of a motorsport kit featuring all the required parts (except for tyres). Customers who buy the kit will be able to purchase a Twingo Renaultsport 133 at a special price. This solution allows customers to obtain a complete, fully-registered production car into which the kit is built.

Kits go on sale in early April, 2010, at the price of 27,990€ excluding tax.

Design and interior

The rally version of the Twingo Renaultsport 133 accentuates the production model's naturally sporting looks. The only different exterior design feature on the competition version is the optional roof-mounted air intake. The car's compact proportions and sharp styling, which in large part comes from the inclusion of a wide air intake grille in the front bumper, sculpted side sills and extended front and rear wheel arches, builds on the already distinctive looks of the road car, the perfect platform for the R2 version.

Twingo Renaultsport R2's interior clearly shows Renaultsport's drive to improve efficiency. Twingo Renaultsport R2 has the same dashboard and central console as on the road car, but comes with two Sabelt Renaultsport seats and harnesses. An LED instrumental panel displays all the necessary information, both during the special stages for the driver and at the service area for the technical team. A data acquisition system is also available as an option.

On the right of the steering wheel, the gearshift lever for the sequential dog box is within easy reach, as is the optional hydraulic handbrake lever. All electric controls are located on a 'power box', placed to the side of the co-driver seat.

Suspension and brakes

In designing a car that is simple to drive, reliable and effective on all surfaces, from the smoothest tarmac to the roughest dirt roads, Renault Sport Technologies opted for tried and tested technological solutions and reused many production parts.

The front suspension uses McPherson technology, with aluminium lower arms and a standard anti-roll bar. Optionally, the rubber bushes can be replaced with spherical joints, for greater driving precision. Twingo Renaultsport R2 comes with hydraulic power-assisted steering, ensuring it can meet the specific demands of rallying, regardless of the length and surface of the special stages.

Also derived from the production model, the rear suspension is a programmed deflection torsion beam. Optionally, it can be reinforced at strategic points.

Equipped with the latest in bump- and rebound-adjustable twin-tube shock absorbers, Twingo Renaultsport R2 has a broad range of settings, so being adjustable for every driving style.

Fitted with standard callipers and discs, the braking system also comes with specific motorsport brake pads. At the front, Twingo Renaultsport has 280mm-diameter ventilated discs and 240mm solid discs at the rear. The one-piece aluminium wheel rims are available in 6.5x16" (tarmac) and 6x15" (gravel) sizes and can be fitted with 195/50 R 16 (tarmac) or 195/65 R 15 (gravel) tyres.

The optional gravel kit comprises the four specific springs, the ball joints for the front axle, the reinforced rear axle and protective elements. These technical decisions help to keep the cost of buying and servicing the car under control. In looking to design a car that is simple to drive, reliable and effective on all surfaces, from the smoothest tarmac to the roughest dirt roads, Renault Sport Technologies opted for tried and tested technological solutions and reused many production parts.

Engine and gear box

Twingo Renaultsport R2 features the normally-aspirated 1,598cc 16-valve K4M RS engine developed by Renault Sport Technologies, ensuring the car is effective, reliable and fun-to-drive. The main changes concern the pistons, camshaft, flywheel, exhaust system and the addition of a specific air box. This special preparation gives the engine an extra 27hp compared with the production model, reaching a mighty 160hp (118kW) of power at 7,250rpm. Maximum torque (160Nm) is reached at 5,500rpm.

A specific motorsport ECU manages engine (power supply and ignition) and gearbox operations. It operates in conjunction with a special electrical wiring loom and may be combined with an optional data logging. Twingo Renaultsport R2's engine has been designed to cover 2,500 kilometres of special stages between each service.

The five-speed sequential gearbox comes with a ZF limited slip differential. Gearshift is managed via a lever positioned adjacent to the steering wheel, which is combined with an engine cut-out switch. This means the driver can use full-throttle flat shifts while changing up through the gears. The clutch is a hydraulically-controlled single disc. Like the gearbox, it can be used for both gravel and tarmac rallying. Three final drive settings are available to suit the specific characteristics of each event.

Safety on road and track

Safety is a priority for Renaultsport Technologies. Twingo Renaultsport R2's structure has been reinforced and strengthened to increase passive and active safety levels. The original body shell has been reinforced and now comes with a welded-in roll cage which complies with the latest specifications set out in Group R regulations and approved by the FIA after a crash test. The roll cage is made of more than 40 metres of steel tubing and contributes to the strength of the survival cell. Twingo Renaultsport R2's interior is fitted with the latest equipment, including Sabelt seats and six-point safety harness compatible with the HANS restraint system. As an option, it is possible to select the seats with head restraint as used on Clio Renaultsport R3. The inner door trims have been removed to allow a protective panel made from composite materials to be installed. The car has an electrically-controlled automatic fire extinguisher system and a battery master switch.

Twingo Renaultsport R1

At the outset, motor racing was all about drivers taking on each other in their own cars. Renault Sport Technologies aims to return to the origins of racing, with Twingo Renaultsport R1.

Renault Sport Technologies is the first manufacturer to obtain homologation for a car in this entry-level motorsport category. This basic version can take part in all regional, national and international rallies at a greatly reduced cost. Twingo Renaultsport R1 is a production car fitted with some essential safety equipment. It gives drivers with very limited budgets the opportunity to get involved.

Starting with the Twingo Renaultsport 133 road car, the R1 version is fitted with the same welded roll cage as the R2, but it also has two additional protective tubes and is bolted to the body shell to easy assembly. The engine and gearbox are identical to the production model. An ECU setting giving torque at lower engine speeds will be homologated to improve mid-range performance. Provided FIA regulations are complied with, it is possible to convert Twingo Renaultsport R1 to Twingo Renaultsport R2 specification.

Support

Renault Sport Technologies provides high-quality technical support for all its range of racing products. Every year, its engineers attend over 100 national and international rallies (Junior World Rally Championship, IRC, ERC, etc.)

A spare parts facility, as well as manufacturers' engineers and technicians, will be present at the various national trophies that will be run throughout Europe - in France, Italy, Switzerland and a few other countries - to support drivers who have chosen the Twingo Renaultsport R2. Ongoing support, including a help hotline, ensures that all customers remain in direct contact with Renault Sport Technologies' engineers, either by telephone or email.

This support service means that drivers and teams can benefit from Renault Sport Technologies' expertise as soon as they receive the kit and be supervised during the build of the car. Feedback provided in this way also allows Renault Sport Technologies to gather, analyse and relay any useful information to all its customers. An extranet site is available to Renaultsport customers, where they can download technical and sales documentation, technical updates, assembly instructions, and setup sheets.

Twingo Renaultsport R2

Twingo Renaultsport R1

Body

Steeel monocoque with welded-in
roll cage

Steeel monocoque with welded
roll cage bolted into bodyshell

Engine

Type

K4MRS

K4MRS

Size/valves

1598cc/16 valve

1598cc/16 valve

Bore x stroke

79.5 x 80.5mm

79.5 x 80.5mm

Ignition

Magnetti Marelli

Production specification

Power

160hp (118 kW) @ 7000rpm

133hp (98kW) @ 6750rpm

Torque

180Nm @ 5550rpm

160Nm @ 4400rpm

Maximum rpm

7500rpm

7000rpm

Transmission

Type

Front wheel drive

Front wheel drive

Gearbox

5 speed sequential

5 speed

Gearshift

Steering column mounted

Floor mounted

Differential

ZF limited slip differential

Open

Clutch

Hydraulically-controlled single disc

Production

Suspension

Front

McPherson strut
Two-way adjustable shock absorbers,
adjustable camber settings

McPherson strut

Rear

Programmed deflection torsion beam
Two-way adjustable shock absorbers

Programmed deflection torsion beam

Brakes

280mm ventilated front discs
240mm solid rear discs
Specific pad compound

280mm ventilated front discs
240mm solid rear discs

Wheels

Tarmac: alloy 6.5" x 16"
Gravel: alloy 6.5" x 15"

Alloy 6.5" x 15"

Tyres

Tarmac: BF Goodrich 195/50 R 16
Gravel: 195/65 R 15

BF Goodrich 195/50 R 15

Length

3607mm

3607mm

Track front/rear

1465mm/1445mm

1460mm/1430mm

Fuel capacity

40 litres

40 litres

Kerb weight

Ballasted to 1030kg

Ballasted to 1030kg

Kit Price

27,990 Euros excluding VAT

To be confirmed

Base road car price

10,990 Euros excluding VAT