Motorsports Mondial

Formula Renault 3.5 Even closer to Formula 1

A new chapter in the history of Renault Sport opens with the launch of a third generation of the Formula Renault 3.5. This new single-seater stays true to the philosophy that made previous models so successful, namely providing exceptionally high performance, cost-efficiency, reliability and technical fairness. Renault Sport Technologies has drawn on its experience in the field and worked with the best partners available to produce this particularly impressive vehicle, which is even faster than before but still has affordable running costs.

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series, flagship discipline of the World Series by Renault, will see the launch of a new car for the 2012 season. The new Formula Renault 3.5 is designed to prepare the brightest young driving talents for life in Formula 1 and features various technological innovations, particularly in terms of aerodynamics and safety.

To keep costs under control, a third of the components from the previous model have been retained. The carbon chassis, designed and built by Dallara, is an evolution of the previous frame. On a visual level, the cockpit, front and rear wings are all radically different.

The rear spoiler features a drag reduction system (DRS) that can be activated by the driver. This system disrupts the airflow in order to increase straight-line speeds. Designed using computational fluid dynamics and later tested in a wind tunnel, DRS is a low-cost way to improve aerodynamic efficiency and increase performance. It also encourages overtaking, which in turn helps to make races even more spectacular.

Performance is also achieved via a new 530 bhp V8 engine, developed by Zytek Engineering and connected to a new semi-automatic gearbox with pneumatic clutch.

Aside from increasing power (50bhp more than the previous model), the engineers at Renault Sport Technologies have also worked hard to reduce the new car’s weight. Despite stricter safety rules, which require, notably, the use of anti-intrusion panels, the new Formula Renault 3.5 is 15kg lighter than its predecessor. This is thanks in no small part to an innovative electronic system, which requires neither a battery nor a starter.

The Formula Renault 3.5 is a springboard to F1, as the likes of Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Jaime Alguersauri and, more recently, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have all proved so brilliantly. This new version of Renault Sport’s top-of-the-range single-seater will allow young drivers to acquaint themselves with the various technologies used in F1.

The development programme, carried out in 2011, took place on several European circuits, with Romain Grosjean, Andy Soucek and Ben Hanley behind the wheel. The new Formula Renault 3.5 immediately demonstrated its speed and reliability.