Available to order from Monday 30 May 2005, only 500 Clio Renaultsport 182 Trophy will be produced at the Renaultsport factory in Dieppe between June and September as production of all Clio Renaultsport finishes in September. Priced at £15,500 on the road, Clio 182 Trophy is the most technically advanced Clio 2-litre ever produced and was designed to a specific brief for British drivers, being sold only here, with a small number of left hand drive for Switzerland.

The Trophy version represents the pinnacle of the research and development that has gone into the Clio Renaultsport 2-litre since its launch in 2000. Trophy has a specific chassis set up designed to optimise the handling of the car on the road and on a track using race car technology.

The Trophy is based on the Renaultsport 182 Cup with the following changes: Externally, the Trophy is finished in Capsicum Red – a bright solid colour – with Trophy logos at the rear of both side sills. At the rear, the rear spoiler is larger than that fitted to the Cup and is the same as used on the Clio Renaultsport V6 255.

Inside for the first time, Recaro Sport Trendline seats are fitted, upholstered in Black. These lower the driving position by 10mm. They also have far greater lateral support and adjustment to the squab depth. The steering wheel is upgraded from the Cup using that fitted to the Clio 182, leather with rubber thumb grips. The doorsills have Renaultsport-branded protectors.

Only 500 right hand drive Trophy will be produced (with Switzerland the only other country to market the car) and a plaque is fitted to the driver’s seat base showing the production number of the 500-run.

The suspension is based on the Cup set-up. As a reminder, over the normal Renaultsport 182, this has lower ride height, stiffer springs (20% front, 15% rear), re-rated dampers (+20% front, +10% rear), strengthened front wheel hub carriers and revised steering geometry.

The Trophy suspension is lowered a further 10mm at the front with shorter springs. The dampers are supplied by Sachs Race Engineering and have a unique damping force/velocity curve. Normally only used in competition cars, these dampers cost 10 times more than a conventional road car damper and feature a remote reservoir to accommodate nearly 50% of the oil and gas. This remote reservoir provides three benefits:

It liberates enough space to package a thicker and therefore stiffer damper rod, thus increasing camber compliance. The increased oil volume brings better thermal stability, to enable the damper to maintain optimal performance at all times. The space liberated allows the hydraulic components and damper valving to work more effectively.

Another unusual feature of the damper is that a hydraulic bump stop replaces the usual physical elastometric one. This gives a much more progressive stiffness rate once the bump stop starts to work and thus allows a lower ride height without compromising bump travel. The objective of the lower ride height is to improve the turn in and reduce understeer.

Overall, these chassis modifications give the Trophy much improved damping control at all speeds, improved traction and reduced body movements (roll and pitch). This is particularly noticeable on poor quality roads i.e. typical English B roads.

These dampers are much more expensive than those normally used on road cars and their use will always be restricted to specialist performance cars.

The wheels are Speedline Turini in anthracite (these are the same design to those used on the Renaultsport 172 Cup, though with a different offset and new colour). These wheels save 1.3kg each and this reduction in the unsprung weight further improves the wheel control and therefore handling.

The engine remains unchanged but with a 2-litre 182hp, 200Nm torque engine providing a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 140mph, Clio Trophy is all about ultimate control.

The Clio Renaultsport 182 Trophy has been produced especially for the British enthusiast and should help to seal their love affair with the Clio Renaultsport.