Red Bull Race Off coming to Australian Grand Prix

Red Bull race-off

Ian Thorpe may have used yesterday’s comeback press conference, written and authorised by the other local airline that’s not Qantas, to heighten our cynicism towards events wanting to mix business and sport. However, Renault and Red Bull have combined to bring us a promo event for the Australian Grand Prix that is both relevant and interesting.

The relevance is there, of course, because of the engine supply deal Renault has with Red Bull Racing. The interest comes from preparing a handful of Megane RS 250 hot hatches for circuit racing and then handing the keys to a few racing drivers and saying “go for it boys!”

The event is called the Red Bull Race Off and will be a five-lap challenge featuring 13 times F1 race winner David Coulthard, current F1 hopeful Daniel Ricciardo, V8 racer Rick Kelly and motorbike madman Robbie Maddison.

Sounds like fun to us.

Renault Megane RS 250

Renault And Red Bull Continue Successful Motorsport Partnership With Unique Support Race At The 2011 Formula 1â„¢ Qantas Australian Grand Prix

2 February 2011 – Renault and Red Bull have today announced that at this year’s 2011 Formula 1â„¢ Qantas Australian Grand Prix, four Red Bull stars from different racing disciplines will grid up in identical road-based Mégane Renault Sport RS 250 cars before going head-to-head in a unique one-off event: the ‘Red Bull Race Off’.

Three Aussie racers—Formula Renault 3.5 and Scuderia Toro Rosso practice and third driver Daniel Ricciardo, V8 Supercars dynamo Rick Kelly and motocross legend Robbie Maddison—will join British Formula 1 legend David Coulthard to pit their skills against one another at the Albert Park track on Saturday 26th March in a five-lap challenge.

Renault Australia has built 4 Mégane Renault Sport 250s for the Red Bull Race Off.

  • The Mégane Renault Sport 250 is the latest in a long line of sporting Renault cars, and the newly launched Mégane Renault Sport 250 has already secured the Top Gear Magazine’s overall Car of the Year, and Hot Hatch of the Year, Drive Car of the Year Award for Performance Cars under $60,000, as well as securing a strong podium finish in the 2010 Wheels Car of the Year awards.

Mégane Renault Sport 250 specifications

The Mégane Renault Sport 250 is powered by a new-generation, Euro 5-compliant 2.0-litre 16-valve turbocharged petrol engine, which boasts maximum power of 184kW (250hp) at 5,500rpm and peak torque of 340Nm from 3,000rpm.

The Renault Sport 2.0 T engine’s twin-scroll turbo is exceptionally responsive and is particularly flexible at lows revs, with 80 per cent of maximum torque available from 1,900rpm. Acceleration is smooth and responsive thanks to the twin scroll turbocharger and continuously variable intake valve timing.

The Mégane Renault Sport 250 drives through a six-speed manual gearbox (PK4), with a 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds and the 1,000-metre standing start covered in 25.7 seconds.

To enable the fastest possible start, the new Mégane Renault Sport 250 is equipped with a system designed to optimise standing start performance. Known as Power Start, this system functions when the car is at a standstill – with ESP selected – and allows the driver to profit fully from the engine’s acceleration performance without grip being lost.

Red Bull Race Off

For the Red Bull Race Off, Renault Australia will be making a number of modifications to the Mégane Renault Sport 250s to ensure the best possible safety for the drivers. A six-point full roll cage will be installed into each vehicle along with a racing window net. Each driver will have a racing seat fitted along with a 5-point racing harness. In addition, the vehicles will have fire extinguishers fitted. All modifications made to the vehicles are in line with CAMS regulations for the safe operation of the Red Bull Race Off.

Justin Hocevar, managing director of Renault Australia, commented, “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting, innovative event. The Red Bull Race Off highlights the close link between the Renault Formula 1 involvement and the exceptional Mégane Renault Sport 250 that a customer can buy in Australia.

“Renault has an extensive and successful history in motorsport and produces benchmark vehicles in its class. This is a fantastic opportunity for Australian motorsport fans to witness the exceptional race pedigree of the Renault brand.”

V8 Supercars star Rick Kelly said: “Obviously the Formula 1 Grand Prix is always a massively exciting event, but for me it will be even more so this year with the opportunity to race against some of the world’s best drivers in the Red Bull Race Off! It’s a huge privilege to be involved, and I must say although I’m very excited I’m also a bit nervous! I will be giving it my best shot to win – it should be a great spectacle for the crowd and a great event.”

Formula Renault 3.5 driver Daniel Ricciardo said: “I can’t believe I’ll be competing against David Coulthard! Robbie [Maddison] could be a dark horse – in Austria a few years ago, a couple of the Red Bull junior drivers were giving him some tips so I expect him to be on the money. Rick [Kelly] of course is also very talented and a bit more used to the sedans than the rest of us, so he will be the favourite. Should be a fun event—can’t wait for it!”