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Estimate: £300,000 - £350,000
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The Championnat de France de Supertourisme was a national saloon car championship organised by the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile and run between 1976 and 2005 in various formats. It was contested on several circuits around France, with points awarded for driver classification.
A national title was awarded in 1974, but a proper touring car championship, as we know it today, only started in 1976. Initially, the cars were run to 'Group 2' specification, and the championship was called the Championnat Français de Voiture de Tourisme (French Touring Car Championship). From 1982, 'Group A' regulations were adopted to replace the outgoing Group 2, but in 1983 the FFSA modified them slightly but still loosely based on Group A, evolving into the 1987 and 1988 seasons, when cars built to a 'Group B' spec, called "Superproduction," were allowed to run alongside Group A, dominating the series. The championship changed its name to Super Tourisme in 1989 when Group A cars were allowed technical evolutions to keep up with the faster Superproduction cars. With ultra-powerful mechanics, thanks to liberal technical regulations, the “Production” was created to be a spectacular circuit car. That said, it had to be based on a regular showroom model which is why Patrick Landon, responsible for the project from end 1984 onwards, soon produced a car which was nearer to the Renault 5 Turbo 2 than the Maxi 5 Turbo.
Renault Sport state that they started in late 1984 for the 1985 season with six 5Turbos, alloy doors and windows so the car is more like a 5Turbo 1 than the later Maxi5. (See also Peter Meaney’s English book on the R5T for further info as well as the R5T “Enfant Terrible” and the “Renault 5 Turbo”, both in French.)
In 1985 a Renault 5 Turbo “Production” achieved a reasonable amount of success with Jean-Louis Bousquet and the following year he was 4th in the championship, with two victories, meaning Renault finished second in the Constructors’ Championship with the help of Jean Ragnotti' points. They were determined to take the Constructor’s Championship in 1987 so, late in 1986, three of the six cars were chosen and heavily re-prepared for the 1987 season, to be driven again by Jean-Louis Bousquet, Jean Ragnotti, with the addition of then F3 driver - Erik Comas.
A huge amount of work was carried out, defining absolutely the rarity of these three cars. The bodies were sent to Matter, the roll cage and strengthening specialists and modified for stiffness. Sonica worked their magic on the handling, lowering the cars even further, increasing the track front and rear and fettling the suspension so that the cars were close to the limit. As will be seen, all the suspension is hand-welded or hand-made. Spares are, of course, non-existent! Instead of the usual Bozian Brothers supplied engines, Renault F3 engine specialists Sodemo Moteurs were chosen to produce a slightly stroked 1419cc version of the R5T engine (nominally 1397cc). Sodemo and SYTEL used their own ECU, ignition and fuel injection systems, designing a new custom inlet manifold for the purpose.
With a new wild camshaft, a huge new Garret turbocharger with tri-lobe shaft and titanium insides, the new engine ran 2.8 bar boost and utilised water injection, producing 385HP at 6950 rpm. A period dyno sheet for this car shows Sodemo running tests on the engine and getting 410bhp at 7000rpm using 3.2 bar of boost.
By the time that the specialists had finished their work, these three very special cars were as competitive as they could be. Everything was at its limit and the “Production” R5T cars, therefore, will remain the most extreme versions of the Renault 5 Turbo ever produced by the factory. No wonder the other two are carefully locked in the Renault museum at Paris Flins!!
The car on offer today (Chassis #3/86) is one of these three incredibly finely-tuned 1987 cars that won the French “Superproduction” championship, with Renaults crossing the finishing line first on 6 occasions. It's finished in the blue, red and white Philips livery and bears his name and number 25. Comas won the championship that year with a final tally of 254 points with the second-place driver finishing on 213, showing the dominance that the Renault enjoyed that season.
Within the car's History File there is a letter from Renault Sport dated 29/04/2009 confirming the '87 results for Chassis#C3/86
31/05, Monaco: Comas-2nd
?/06 Montlhery: Comas 1st
5/07, Paul Ricard: Ragnotti 2nd
19/07, Lacroix; Bousquet 2nd
4/10, Lédenon: Bousquet
25/10, Pau-Arnos: Comas 1st.
So it's confirmed that Comas' first place in this car, #C3/86, on 25/10/1987 at Pau-Arnos clinched the Championship. He was to prove a talented and versatile driver and would go on to win the French Formula 3 Championship (1988), the French Formula 3000 Championship (1990), and take part in 63 Grand Prix for Ligier and Larrousse before enjoying much success in Japan and at Le Mans.
Following the championship win, paperwork shows that the car was sold by Renault Sport to one Gerard Petit, an avid hill-climb driver with an offer of limited factory support. The car had to be repainted and it was so into silver. Mr Petit was quite successful until he suffered a water injection failure upon which he retired the car as the support from Renault Sport had dried up. He returned the car to the Phillips livery and consigned it to the Prince Rainier collection, where it remained on display in Monaco until 2016 when it joined our vendor's amazing private collection of significant competition cars as the only example in private ownership.
Due to the amount of time the car had spent in the museum without any attention, let alone being started and run-up, it was thoroughly “topped and tailed” after its arrival at our vendor’s. The original centre-lock mag wheels and original 30-year-old slicks are supplied with the car which now sits on original mag centre-lock wheels shod with modern tyres and these are, of course, the correct sizes of 16s at the front and 17s at the rear.
The French Touring Car Championship was incredibly popular at home, as it was and is in the UK, and winning cars from any year are seriously sought-after. The 1987 Championship was watched by millions on television and the nation took these little red, white and blue Renaults to heart. This a very special collectors car from a golden era and we welcome any inspection of this important part of French Motorsport history.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdZxTgtj3jQ in all its poor quality!
You can now book a one-to-one appointment (up to one hour) to view this lot at our central location of Stoneleigh Park (CV8 2LG) Monday to Friday, between Thursday 29th October – 12th November. Please contact Harry on 01926691141/ firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your appointment or to discuss the car in more detail. The health & safety of both our customers and team remain the utmost priority, we are therefore operating to strict COVID-19 guidelines and full instructions for arrival and inspection protocols will be given when making your appointment.
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