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Formula Renault 3.5 2012: the next step

Moves closer to F1
Saturday, May 28, 2011


A new chapter is about to be written in the history of Formula Renault 3.5 Series with the launch of a new single-seater in 2012. Now more powerful, the new car will nevertheless remain loyal to the philosophy on which the reputation of its predecessor was built: performance, controlled costs, reliability and sporting fairness. To achieve this, Renault Sport Technologies has enlisted the services of the best suppliers around. The chassis, an evolution of that used on the current car, has been designed in partnership with Dallara, while the engine, which now generates 530bhp, has been specifically designed by Zytek Motorsport. Finally, Michelin has also developed new tires, resulting an overall package that makes the car faster by two seconds a lap at running costs which remain practically equivalent to what they were previously.

Renault Sport Technologies has chosen the setting of the Monaco Grand Prix, where the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will be the curtain raiser for the Formula 1 race, to present its new single-seater. Launched in 2005, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, the flagship discipline of the World Series by Renault, has over the years built itself a reputation as an effective stepping stone to F1, as illustrated by the career paths of drivers such as Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel and Jaime Alguersuari.

Designed in conjunction with Dallara in 2005, Formula Renault 3.5 has already undergone one development in 2008 and is preparing to take a real step up in 2012. Out of a concern to keep costs under control, Renault Sport Technologies and Dallara have opted for a development of the existing chassis, known as the T08, achieved thanks to a new kit validated using the very latest and most advanced tools. The new aerodynamic configuration, in particular with its new front and rear wings, will make it possible to gain 34% more downforce. With 60% of the car remodeled, the New Formula Renault 3.5 complies with the strictest of safety standards, making it one of the safest cars in its field.

New Formula Renault 3.5 will be powered by an entirely new engine designed specifically for the car by Zytek Motorsport. The 3396cc V8 will generate 530bhp at 9,250 rpm, which is fifty horsepower more than the current engine.

Weight gain has been at the heart of the research conducted by Renault Sport Technologies and its technical partners. Weighing in at 15kg lighter than its predecessor, New Formula Renault 3.5 will feature several cutting-edge developments. The six-speed gearbox will be fitted with a new casing and a new pneumatic gearshift control. The new shock absorbers and hubs also help to achieve weight gains, though the most significant revolution has to be the new management of the electrical system. The New Formula Renault 3.5 will be the first single-seater not to be fitted with a battery thanks to a new electronic control unit developed in conjunction with XAP Electronique. An anti-engine stall strategy will be incorporated into the design to compensate for the lack of a starter on the car.

Finally, to encourage overtaking, the car will be fitted with an active gurney, which will serve to reduce aerodynamic drag, in the same way as the Drag Reduction System (DRS) introduced in Formula 1 this year. At the press of a button, the driver will be able to activate this system on the straights to achieve gains of up to 20kph in terms of top speed.

The development is to commence in June and will run until September, taking in several European circuits. Romain Grosjean, the number three driver for Lotus Renault Grand Prix, will be the main driver responsible for these tests. The Formula Renault 3.5 2012 will be unveiled at the Silverstone round of the World Series by Renault in August and will complete it first laps in public on the Sunday of that event.

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