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Renault’s R.S.01 is a stunning race car fantasy come to life

We’re left to ponder this chicken-and-egg conundrum when it comes to Renault’s new R.S.01 race car: Was the car developed for the new Renaultsport Trophy Series or did Renault simply add a new cup to its World Series as an excuse to race around in this gorgeous car? It’s good news either way, as we get to enjoy this stunning vehicle. A new video released by the French automaker takes us through the steps of how the R.S.01 transformed from an amazingly drawn sketch to the carbon-fiber sexiness that we’ll see on the track.

The R.S.01 is powered by the same 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that’s found in the Nissan GT-R.  It’s capable of producing between 500 to 550 horsepower as well as more than 440 pound-feet of torque. Power from the mid-mounted engine is transferred to the rear wheels via a seven-speed sequential gearbox.

That striking exterior isn’t just about looks either. Renaults newest racer has the same aerodynamic performance of an open-wheel single seater, providing 1.7 metric tons of downforce at its 186 mph top speed.

As the video also explains, the R.S01 is a small part of a larger effort to get more people racing. Its bespoke trophy series is a sort of gateway for Pro-Am customer teams to get into other series, like the Japanese Super GT or the World Endurance Championship. We’ll see the R.S.01’s inaugural series this year, so until then, enjoy the video and dream motorsport dreams.