The Renault Car Club Australia (RCCA) based in NSW will be represented with 6 crews at this year’s 25th edition of Targa Tasmania. The RCCA, and Renault, have a long history in Motorport. 110 years ago, Renault won the very first Grand Prix, the 1906 French GP, and continued winning in the World Rally Championship (Alpine, R5 Turbo), Le Mans and F1 as well as breaking several world speed records .
Ted Merewether and Jen Gillot, 2007 Renault Sport Mégane R26 (Car 837), Andrew and Belinda Collier, 1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2 (Car 621), the 3 Alpines of Ernst and Sonja Luthi (Car 412), Barry McAdie (Car 74) and honorary RCCA member Mark Duder (Car 164) and also Adam Spence competing for outright honours in his Renault-Nissan Alliance built 2011 Nissan GTR R35 (Car 822).
The RCCA, believed to be the oldest Renault Car Club worldwide, was founded in 1951 and has a long history in Motor Sport. In 1956, the Regie Renault Rally was inaugurated and by 1985 the club was running 4 State level motorsport events: 2 rallies, 1 hillclimb and 1 motorkhana. The club’s Jugiong Interstate Motorkhana Challenge is now in its 52nd year. Today the club continues to be involved in State Motorkhanas and has something like six current and previous Australian Motorkhana champions, not to mention many State and class champions in its ranks. The RCCA caters for all Renaults, old and new, and besides its sporting activities, has a very active social calendar catering for a wide range of members who are passionate about their Renaults.
Andrew followed in his father Bruce Collier’s (famous rally man of the 60 and 70s and contemporary of Bob Watson) foot steps and started dirt rallying in a R8 back in the early 80s. He then turned to Motorkhanas in a Renault Special winning the Australian Championship 3 times and the NSW Championship 13 times!
Andrew bought his pearlescent white 1985 R5 Turbo 2 back in 2006 Although based on the Renault 5, the car is radically different, being rear wheel drive and mid engined with a tubular chassis to support the engine and transmission. The car was built by Renault to compete in the World Rally Championship in the early 80s, with wins in Rally Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse driven by Jean Ragnotti. Only 3,500 R5 Turbo were built between 1980 and 1986.
Andrew’s car, although mildly modified, still sports the original 1397cc, 4 cylinder fuel injected turbo charged cross flow engine, which in road going trim produced around 160hp. Andrew has added a Tour De Course camshaft and larger intercooler to improve performance to around 200hp. With its wide back and fat tyres, it is an impressive sight from any angle.
Andrew and wife Belinda have competed in Targa events since 2011 and the R5 Turbo 2 has proved to be a fun car to drive on those twisty Tasmanian and High Country roads.
Ted, like Andrew started competing in dirt rallies in his R10 back in the 80s. He bought his ex-Renault press fleet 2007 Renault Sport Mégane R26 back in 2009. The Mégane RS is a series of hot hatch models based on the Renault Mégane, built since 2004. The latest version, the 275hp, sub 6 sec 0-100kmh RS275, currently holds the lap record at the Nürnburgring at a time of 7:54.36.
Ted has improved the car over the years, but kept it pretty standard. The 2 litre turbo engine was slightly tuned and output increased by 15% to around the output of a standard Mégane RS265. Upgraded front brakes, brake cooling ducts, camber and castor adjustment kits were also added.
Ted together with navigator Jen Gillott have competed in the last 3 Targa Tasmania and High Country events and enjoyed every minute of it. “Although we reached a 205kph top speed at the 2015 Targa High Country”, Ted says. “ it’s the corners that this car really loves – it was just made for these twisty and challenging Targa roads !”
The best part of Targa rallying for all of us from the Renault Car Club (apart from the speed-induced adrenalin) ? –It’s the company of like-minded car enthusiasts all enjoying their cars and these fantastic events.
Come and say hello to the team during Targa Tasmania.
RCCA website: http://rcca.org.au/