Renault Laguna BTCC (1997)

From 1993 onwards, GB Motorsport entered an R19 then a Laguna in the British Touring Cars Championship, making sure and steady progress over a two-year period.

In 1995, Renault decided to joined forces with Williams, its partner in F1. Following an initial upgrade, the Laguna was then comprehensively overhauled, with extensively developed aerodynamics enabled by the relaxed regulations. The British team was one of the leading experts in aerodynamics thanks to its experience in elite motor racing.

As is customary at Renault, the car’s exterior looks were matched by its interior beauty, since the brand introduced a two-litre, four-cylinder engine, with the power output extended to over 280hp by Sodemo.

It proved to be an immediate hit, claiming a series of one-two finishes and winning the 1995 manufacturers’ title. Renault still wanted even more and so a new, upgraded version was introduced in 1996. Fine-tuning and development work continued until 1997, its most successful year.

The Laguna was now an absolute racing monster and, driven by Alain Menu, it won more than half of the races. The up-and-coming Jason Plato, in his first full season in the BTCC after graduating from the Renault Spider Championship, won another two races. Renault claimed both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles, as it had done in its final year partnering with Williams in F1.

Two years later, the Laguna ended its run in the BTCC in 1999 with four titles and thirty-eight race wins, leaving younger generations with an iconic model they could drive – virtually – on the TOCA Touring Car Championship video game!