Renault celebrates centenary of Grand Prix success as headline sponsor of Goodwood Festival of Speed 2006

Renault celebrates centenary of Grand Prix success as headline sponsor of Goodwood Festival of Speed 2006  
Filed under:
News, Renault
on 07/05/2006

This year is the centenary of the first-ever Grand Prix, won by the Renault AK 90CV near Le Mans in June 1906. To mark this milestone and to underline its continued success at the pinnacle of modern motorsport, Renault is headline sponsor of Goodwood Festival of Speed 2006 and as part of its plans, has organised an all-star cast of competition cars and drivers, both past, present and future to join in the celebrations and delight the crowds.

The centrepiece of Renault’s display at this year’s Festival is another impressive structure by Gerry Judah, arguably his most ambitious and striking to date in his nine-year involvement with the event. Built on the carriage turning circle in front of Goodwood House, the piece will act as a canopy for five historic Renault cars on display. And for the first time, the Festival’s theme – 100 years of Grand Prix racing – will be told by a photographic exhibition, encircling the central display.

Underneath this awe-inspiring piece of architecture, Renault’s elite collection consists of – a re-creation of the 1906 Grand Prix winner, two 2005 R25 Formula 1 cars and two Vanderbilt Cup Renaults from 1907. The display will be complemented by a photographic exhibition featuring 120 images charting the evolution of Grand Prix racing from 1906 to 2006, book-ended by Renault’s victories 100 years apart. All photography has come from the world-famous LAT photographic archive, which contains over nine million images.

Labour of love

The first of the Renault collection is a re-creation of the 1906 Renault AK 90CV, which won the first ever Grand Prix on a 60-mile road course near Le Mans in June of the same year. The original race-winning car vanished after World War I and has never been traced. However, the story of the car at Goodwood is just as intriguing.

Until the late 1990s, the vehicle’s chassis had been languishing on a farm in Bradford, propping up a chicken shed but, after more than 2,000 man hours from owner John Brydon, the labour of love will complete its remarkable reversal of fortune from farmyard relic to figurehead of the Renault display in front of Goodwood House. Not only will the car be driven on the world famous hillclimb, it will appear alongside an original 12.9-litre engine which has a history just as fascinating as that of the car itself.

For the last 70 years, the engine has been housed in London’s Science Museum, believed to be from a war-time airship. However, during the restoration process, a date stamp of 13th April 1906 was found on the engine, leading the Museum’s Curator of Transport, Dan Albert, to believe that, by an incredible twist of fate, this engine may actually be that which powered Ferenc Szisz and his AK 90CV to glory in the 1906 Grand Prix.

Renault F1 stars at Goodwood

Acting as a contemporary contrast to the beauty and majesty of the AK 90CV will be two examples of the R25 - last year’s Formula One World Championship-winning car. Driven from the Renault central display on Friday and Saturday by rising star, Renault F1 Team test driver, Heikki Kovalainen, followed on Sunday by Giancarlo Fisichella who currently lies third in the World Championship. The cars provide the perfect illustration of the evolution of motorsport engineering and technology over the last 100 years.

Continuing Renault’s historic celebration, four other racing cars will also take to the hillclimb route: RE30, Lotus-Renault 97T, Renault Laguna BTCC and the current mid-engined Mégane Trophy, driven by 1980s Renault Formula One star and Goodwood favourite René Arnoux.

Senna at Goodwood

Adding to the dizzying array of illustrious Renault competition cars and drivers is the Lotus-Renault 97T, which will be piloted by Bruno Senna, nephew of the legendary Ayrton. The car - chassis number two - is the one used by the three-time World Champion to claim his maiden Formula One Grand Prix victory in Portugal. With a helmet design similar to that of his late uncle, Bruno Senna will inspire many memories of the Estoril circuit in 1985 as he pilots the distinctive black and gold car up the Sussex hill.

Speaking about the forthcoming emotional drive at Goodwood, Bruno said, "To drive the car used by my uncle to win his first Grand Prix will be something truly special. He considered the Estoril race to be his greatest ever drive, even more so than his famous victory in the rain at Donington at the 1993 European Grand Prix. It is a great honour for me to be able to experience driving the car."

Bringing Renault’s collection firmly up-to-date and underlining the influence of its motorsport heritage on its road cars, is the New Clio Renaultsport 197. Deliveries of Renaultsport’s latest pocket rocket commence on 18th July, so Goodwood will provide the ideal setting for highlighting the car’s pedigree, not least because several of its forebears will appear alongside it, including the original Clio Williams ‘0001’ and a Clio Renaultsport 182 Trophy.

Renault’s twenty-one car line-up for the Festival includes nine running cars and 12 for static display. Among them are:

Running cars

1906 Renault AK 90CV re-creation (John Brydon)

1907 Renault AI 35CV Vanderbilt Cup (Wolfgang Auge and Bill Spoerle)

1982 RE30 (René Arnoux/Daniel Howald)

1985 Renault 5 Maxi Turbo (Adam Keeeler)

1985 Lotus-Renault 97T (Bruno Senna)

1987 Renault Laguna BTCC (Gavin and Myles Hicks)

2005 Renault F1 Team R25 (Heikki Kovalainen/Giancarlo Fisichella)

2006 Renault Mégane Trophy (René Arnoux)

Display cars

Clio Williams ‘0001’

Clio Renaultsport V6 255

Mégane Renaultsport 225

Mégane Trophy race car

New Clio Renaultsport 197


Commenting on Renault’s considerable involvement at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Philippe Talou-Derible, Managing Director of Renault UK said, "We are obviously extremely proud to be the main sponsor of what is quite possibly the world’s finest motoring event. This is a year that means so much to Renault. Not only is Renault the reigning Formula One champion, but 2006 also marks the centenary of our first Grand Prix victory."

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