Although it may not appear it from the mileage I’ve covered, this is not my daily driver; I have the works van for that. Even so, heading over into Europe to sample the car’s on track prowess has definitely given me a chance to get to know it intimately, as anyone would after a 10 hour journey from the Nurburgring to Carlisle.
To be honest, the bucket seats have proved surprisingly comfortable over long trips but after this month’s Nurburgring journey, 10 hours really was enough. Usually we stay at friends down south to break up the journey but this time we did it in one hit, and I still have the numb arse to prove it.
Tto be fair though any other car I’ve had creates the same problem, so it is a little harsh to single that one thing out. The lack of stereo is also proving to be less of a problem, I think you gradually just get used to not having one and you do tend to just concentrate on the driving. At least until you can’t focus on anything else but the creaking passenger seat. I’ve taken the offending bolt out but it’s actually a manufacturing fault on the part of Sabelt; the mounting grommet in the carbon fibre bucket actually moves around inside the seat. The only remedy i can see is a lot of Loctite or a new seat which I’m sure Renault won’t be pleased about when the car goes in to get it sorted.
As the car spends most of the week tucked away in the garage, it isn’t annoying enough to become a fix it tomorrow job, much like the misting up rear light, however it is a little embarrassing when explaining to passengers that although it sounds terrible they really don’t have anything to worry about. Italian seats in a French car, perhaps things could only have been worse if they were British!
What really grates on the car though is the low quality of plastics in the cabin. It’s a lightweight special so you have to cut it some slack but everything that touches the door casings, dash, glove box, fascia etc. just seems to leave a scratch or mark. We’ve even taken to not putting plastic drinks bottles in the door bins so as not to leave any more scratches on the door panels.
As mentioned previously I’ve had the car’s front end wrapped in vinyl to protect from stone chips and so far it’s doing a great job. It was amazing to see the lads applying one huge piece of the stuff and then gently heating & forming it around the front of the car. I’d definitely get it done again.
Also since the last entry, I’ve had a Milltek exhaust fitted to try and get rid of the hairdryer soundtrack. It sounds a lot meatier and pops quite nicely on the over-run but does boom at around 90 mph and isn’t that loud. It’s an improvement but I’m not entirely happy; if anyone has any recommendations please get in touch, especially as the now protruding exhaust tips burn your legs at every opportunity!
So nearly 3500 miles, over 40 laps of the Nurburgring and despite the gripes mentioned above I am very happy with the R26.R.We needed to swap the front and back tyres last weekend at the Ring as the fronts were down to the wear indicators, which should mean I’ll see almost 5000 motorway & track miles from a set; not bad considering the grip they provide.
I really can’t imagine getting rid of the car for anything else; as a track car it performs fantastically. Mind you I have said that about quite a few cars in the past…