Frank Williams as soon as mentioned: “Subsequent to Formulation One, the BTCC is a very powerful collection on this planet outdoors America.” He was proper.
With over 1,000,000 folks tuning in on a Sunday to observe their favorite drivers battle it out within the British Touring Automotive Championship, few different stay sporting applications got here shut.
To have Williams run Renault’s works staff confirmed simply how critical the French automaker was about successful. Williams had loads of driver and constructor championships to their identify in Formulation 1 at this level, and the extent of development they delivered to touring automotive racing – at each a technical and industrial degree – compelled the remainder of the BTCC subject to play catch up. Previous to this, Renault had little success with the R19 and first yr of the Laguna, so Williams’ involvement was desperately wanted.
Having two ex-BTCC Willams-Renault Lagunas on the latest Manufacturers Hatch Tremendous Touring Energy occasion offered an alternative to not solely take a look at the vehicles up shut and soak up all the main points, but additionally see what it will have been like to observe them racing in interval towards their rivals.
Whereas the laws had some limitations, Williams took the rulebook and developed a automotive proper on the restrict. First showing in 1994, the brand new Lagunas had been fast out the field, however fragile. Nonetheless, Williams-Renault managed second total within the championship.
Over the subsequent few years, Renault had been persistently within the prime half of the sphere, with the Lagunas excelling on quick, flowing circuits. Success lastly got here knocking in 1997 when Williams-Renault was so dominant they gained 14 of 24 races and had the championship all wrapped up with six rounds to go. Alain Menu was accountable for 12 of these victories, whereas the opposite two went to Jason Plato, who was only a rookie on the time.
A glance beneath the automotive exhibits simply how totally different the suspension is from unique. The pick-up factors and geometry have been radically altered to permit for scalpel-sharp dealing with.
With the automotive up on air jacks, you may see simply how little suspension journey they’ve.
Given the tucked nature of the wheels, steering lock was additionally minimal. This meant that after the vehicles went previous a reasonably shallow level, the drivers had been simply alongside for the trip.
Sodemo Moteurs, a provider of Renault race motors for numerous motorsport disciplines, had the dry-sump-equipped 1,998cc engines making making effectively in extra of 300hp. That energy discovered its solution to the 19-inch magnesium OZ Racing wheels by a Hewland sequential gearbox.
A most important sponsor change to Nescafé resulted in a completely new color scheme for Renault’s 1998 season. By this level the competitors was much more fierce, leading to what many individuals regard because the highpoint of the Tremendous Tourer period. Sadly for Renault, success was tougher to return by they usually solely ended up successful 4 rounds.
Come 1999, Renault solely managed one spherical win, main to an entire withdrawal on the finish of the season. Nissan and Volvo did the identical. The writing was on the wall, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than the Tremendous Tourer period was resigned to the historical past books. By 2001, the TOCA ruleset modified dramatically, bringing an abrupt finish to what many now look again on because the golden period of touring automotive racing.