(Photo: McLaren vehicle equipped with Renault engine)
On November 6th, 2018, SNECI visited the headquarters of Renault Sport Racing in Viry-Châtillon, France. Hosted by Jérôme Stoll, the President of Renault Sport Racing, our team had a unique opportunity to discover the R&D and testing processes for Renault’s R.E.18 engines.
With facilities in Viry-Châtillon, France and Enstone in the UK, Renault Sport Racing is responsible for all of Renault’s motorsport activities, including F1, FE, Formula Renault, the Clio Cup and Rallies. Renault Sport is associated with F1 both as a constructor and engine supplier. The R.E.18 power unit is currently used by not only Renault Sport F1’s R.S.18 but also by Red Bull and MacLaren Formula 1 cars.
The visit started with a passionate presentation by the President of Renault Sport Racing, Jérôme Stoll. “Strong performance in F1 depends on four main factors: engines, chassis, drivers, and the environment.” Around 1200 employees in France and the United Kingdom work to support the success of the Renault Sport Racing F1 team. The French R&D center works on the development, testing, and quality control of Renault’s R.E.18 power units which, afterwards, are manufactured by Mecachrome. The plant in Enstone is devoted to the development and manufacturing of Renault R.S.18 chassis and the assembly of the vehicles. Finally, two highly experienced drivers, Nico Hülkenberg, from Germany, and Carlos Sainz Jr., from Spain, lead Renault’s F1 team.
The most attention-grabbing area of the Renault Sport Racing facility is probably the engine power testing room. Here, a professional driver and a couple of engineers test the power needs of the engine by simulating some of the major racing tracks with the help of a sophisticated software. “I am always amazed to see a driver closing his eyes and correctly guessing the part of the track just by the sound of the engine in the test,” shares Célia Pernet, Marketing and Communications Assistant at Renault Sport Racing.
Another exciting part of the Renault Sport Racing headquarters is the operations room. Here, a team of at least eight people access and analyze data received from the cars and team during a race in real time. They stay in constant contact with the trackside team, suggesting new engine map improvements or software changes that could be made on the Friday before the race.
SNECI is grateful for the warm welcome given by the Renault Sport Racing team and for having the exciting opportunity to learn more about the development of F1 power units. We continue to appreciate our close relationship with Renault and are always happy to participate in their events.