TO HEAD UP RENAULT WRX BID
Prodrive and Renault have joined forces in an assault on the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
The French manufacturer is the latest car firm to sign up to the increasingly influential series and Prodrive chairman David Richards is delighted to be involved in the project.
Richards said: “It has long been an ambition of ours to compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It is 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.”
The Megane RX Supercar will be developed and built at Prodrive’s Oxfordshire factory with Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit lined up to drive in the 2018 season.
The Renault will be Prodrive’s second RX car, having developed the Mini RX in 2013.
Prodrive is about to embark on the development of a Renault Megane RX Supercar – signalling the Banbury firm’s return to global off-road motorsport for the first time since it abandoned its Mini World Rally Championship programme in 2012.
Prodrive is joining French driver Guerlain Chicherit to work on the latest rallycross entry. Prodrive is, of course, no stranger to rallycross, having developed its Mini World Rally Car chassis into a successful RX racer.
Prodrive chairman David Richards admitted the deal with Chicherit was the conclusion of a long-held desire to compete in rallycross on a permanent basis.
Richards said: “It has long been an ambition of ours to compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It is 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. Guerlain is obviously a very talented driver and we look forward to working with him and developing a race car that both he and Renault will be proud of.”
Former WRC competitor Chicherit added: “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 and I’m excited to bring my brand and partners to the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2018.”
Best remembered for lifting six World Rally Championship titles – and crowning both Colin Mcrae and Richard Burns – in the Subaru Impreza, Prodrive has since spread its engineering know-how into other areas. Britain’s America’s Cup challenge is kept on course courtesy of wiring and control systems aboard the Ben Ainslie Racing boat developed and produced by Prodrive.
The fuelling systems used in Rolls-royce jet engines are also built in Banbury as are most of the composite components in the UK’S leading sports and luxury car manufacturers.
Motorsport represents just 40 per cent of Prodrive’s business turnover today, but its GT racing programme with Aston Martin Racing has kept the world titles – including last year’s FIA WEC GT Drivers’ – coming to Oxfordshire.
One of Prodrive’s finest moments in recent years came with Mark Higgins’s record-breaking run around the 38-mile Isle of Man TT course. The Manxman drove a 600bhp Subaru WRX built, developed and run by Prodrive at an average speed of 128.730mph.
Prodrive’s joint venture with Chicherit is the latest in a line of exciting developments for the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Two-time title winner Petter Solberg recently announced his switch to a Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar built and developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover, but run by his own PSRX squad, while Swedish star Mattias Ekstrom’s title defence will come with additional backing from Audi.
Link with Renault has tempted Prodrive to join the World Rallycross Championship Prodrive has entered a joint venture with driver Guerlain Chicherit for the Megane
Richards: WRX ambitions
FIA World Rallycross is a high-profile arena The styling of the new Megane is very aggressive