Renault is planning to enter the 2018 Rallycross championship with a Prodrive-developed Megane.
Prodrive has confirmed that it will be teaming up with Renault to develop a brand new World Rallycross competitor for 2018, based on the latest Megane.
The company has so far confirmed that power will arrive courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit in accordance with FIA regulations, placing it in the premiership WRX Supercar category. All participants deploy 600bhp through necessitated four-wheel-drive systems, allowing these raucous, rally outlaws to launch from 0-60mph in under two seconds.
Prodrive’s entry into the 2018 season will represent their first fully-fledged involvement in the series. Rallycross, though, isn't totally unexplored territory for the Motorsport Valley-based firm. They were enlisted to develop the Mini WRX for the 2013 Global RallyCross Championship, which picked up victory at the season’s curtain raiser in Munich. That said, experienced or not in this R-rated series, Prodrive’s nous and clout in off-road racing means their new conception will likely be a fearsome competitor.
The famous Subaru collaborator has drip-fed the specs so far, keeping cards close to its chest. It has all but been confirmed though; the engine will be Prodrive designed and built, continuing the company’s tradition of in-house engine development. Assumptions of component sharing with the new Megane RS (touted to have a 2-litre forced induction motor too) can be put to rest.
Prodrive’s diversity of accomplishments across the motorsport board has driven them to take part in this rally off shoot. David Richards, Prodrive chairman said: ‘It has long been an ambition of ours to compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It’s the fastest growing motorsport series in the world and gives us the opportunity to use all our engineering experience to create a car capable of winning the World title.’
There is little doubt the Megane RX will be capable of mixing it with the competition's front runners. To ensure such eventualities an Anglo-French relationship has been struck – French driver Guerlain Chicherit has been signed. He’ll take to the wheel for the first time when testing gets underway in the last quarter of 2017. Chicherit is no stranger to the speed-and-sport combination. As a former Free Skiing World Champion and FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner he has the credentials to create a formidable partnership with Prodrive.
Guerlain Chicherit said: ‘I’m so stoked to be working with the guys from Prodrive to build what has been my dream for a long time. I know that with the right team and the support we have, we’ll be able to produce a car that will really make an impact in the paddock. I absolutely trust Prodrive to build the best car.’