Why a Megane? We wanted a track day car that anyone could get in and drive quickly. We initially thought of a low powered Caterham, but after a very wet and spin filled day at Goodwood we went back to the drawing board and decided we needed a hard-topped front wheel drive hot hatch.
There’s three great hot hatches with trick front difs that made the shortlist; The Ford Focus RS, the Vauxhall Astra VRX and the Renault Megane RS Cup. The Megane is generally the cheapest and I think, less obvious and loutish – French stuff is classy, right? Non?
We bought the car from KTR in Dorset, they’re pretty much the leading supplier of fast racing Megane’s, certainly in our extended area. They gave us a great deal on a 2011 RS 250 cup and threw in a remap, taking it to 295 bhp before we’d even collected it.
Before we hit the track, we added some Renault RS racing flag stickers and installed our Vbox system. This tell us how fast we are at any point of the track and allows you to easily check and log any of the small incremental tuning gains
The Vbox system consists of a master unit, mounted in the Megane behind the arm rest, a HD forward facing camera, a second camera looking into the car, two microphones and a GPS unit. The system knows which track it’s on automatically and records all the footage, sound and GPS data to a memory card, which we can stick straight into our laptops back in the pits.
After a couple of track days at Goodwood and Silverstone, we decided to complete the stage 1 upgrade with an induction kit and de-catted sports exhaust (both from KTR). This takes the BHP to around the 305 mark although it could really do with another map to really squeeze the most out of it.
We fitted both of these relatively quickly and painlessly in our workshop. Then we looked at upgrading the brakes with braided hoses and race spec brake fluid.
Next job was to add some downforce and help clean up the air – It may be diminished returns on a FWD car of this power, but I’m sure the splitter, rear diffuser and small rear wing had added grip and increased cornering speed. All three are custom RS parts by MAXTON DESIGNS and required minimal fettling to fit.
The stock seats in our Megane were actually pretty great – Leather, grippy and comfy to boot. But they can’t take a harness and at high cornering speeds didn’t grip enough for us. So, after a trip to the Autosport show in Birmingham and a serious amount of seat testing, we settled on a set of Corbeau RRB’s.
The seats arrived a few weeks before we were due to drive out to Belgium for a day at Spa. Unfortunately, the seats didn’t come with any sub frames, so we jumped straight back on to the internet to find a friendly company that sold them. We waited and chased and waited and chased and then two days before we were due to leave for Spa – We hurriedly unwrapped them to only find that… they were for a mark 2 Megane and were too wide for our 3. We don’t let simple things like that defeat us, so we queued the A-team music and a spot of grinding, welding and painting later, we’d refabricated the subframes to fit a mark three Megane. They’re a little too low, but they fit!
After a brilliant few days at Spa in Belgium, next up was to improve our livery – We had some custom stickers made with the Outrun logos on, which we placed on both doors and he bonnet.
After a pretty hard day at Silverstone on one of our corporate track days, we’ve had to upgrade the brake pads front and back to EPS yellow race pads.
Does a waste gate add any power, hmmm debatable, maybe half a horse? Does it make it sound like a rally car – Yes, yes it does. So, we fitted this, with some small workarounds due to some questionable fitting instructions just for effect, plus it uses some nice purple hoses for that authentic 90’s tuner look.
What’s next for the Megane? We’ve bought and (re-fabricated again) some new subframes to raise the race seats up a few inches. We’ve also got our eye on a full roll cage and harness system.
Then it’s on to making it race compliant – So that’s a hard-wired fire extinguisher and electric cut off switch. Maybe a new steering wheel and some more weight saving too. We’ll see!