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Guest Feature: Renault R.S.01 by Norev and Hot Wheels, by Joep Verbeeten

Another guest feature from Joep Verbeeten, this time on the fantastic Renault R.S.01 from Norev.  The R.S.01 made a splash last year in the Hot Wheels line, and here Joep shows us the tremendous Norev release.  And as usual, he has me scouring eBay for an example to snag.

Enjoy the article and beautiful photos, and as always, a huge thanks to Joep.

I was so rapturous when I found HotWheels’ R.S.01 in Italy last July. As HotWheels aren’t that common in Europe, let alone the French ones. But then I got Norev’s interpretation of it. And it blew me away. Totally.

But what is the R.S.01 in the first place? It’s a race car created by Renault Sport (hence the “R.S.”) in the former Alpine factory in Dieppe. It’s design was heavily inlfluenced by the Renault Dézir but Akio Shimizu, responsible for designing it, proclaimed being influenced by the ‘56 Renault Etoile Filante as well. I really can’t tell what that influence was supposed to be though, in case you don’t know it this is it:

He had to follow some hard points as underneath that body is a Dallara carbon monocoque chassis. So naming it a Renault is bold. Especially if you know what engine it houses. Yep. It is family but it is Japanese. Nissan’s (or rather: Nismo’s) own GT-R 3.8 V6!

And with 500hp, 600Nm and a weight of barely 1,100 kgs it, well, flies probably. That wing is there for a reason. It uses a Sadev 7 speed sequential gearbox and pushes all those horses to the rear wheels. Other race dedicated companies like Cosworth, Pectel (ECU), Öhlins (suspension) and ZF (clutch) are involved as well.

And all this to have it competing in its own one-make Renault Sport Trophy series. To supersede the Eurocup Renault Mégane V6 Trophy. And skipping that Euro-part as it is a Renault World Series. Although it still was only driven on European tracks as a supporting event to the European Le Mans Series. Still with me?

The series was ended after 2016 but in 2017 the R.S.01 did reappear. As Renault Sport de-tuned it in 2015 already to have it compete in local French GT3 class action. And it went somewhat later, winning the 12 hours of Mugello in 2016. This year a R.S.01 finished second in A6-Am class of the 24 hours of Dubai. Want to see/hear how such a car handles on track check out this video of Chris Harris:

A compare between the Hot Wheels and the Norev might not be that fair. The Norev is more expensive and that surely shows in the details. Still, one pays about 4 or 5 euros for a 3″ Norev so it’s not nearly as expensive as a TLV. And HWs are 2 euros over here in Euroland (don’t mind the price tag below, that was in a highly touristic area).

The packaging alone makes the Norev a winner to me. I highly appreciate HW’s card art from time to time but I prefer to store most of my casts in their boxes, if applicable.

And it’s easy to mistake those black corner pieces on the HW’s frunk for it’s headlights but it’s just part of it’s livery. And the headlights disappear a bit in the cast somewhere.

The Norev really is clearly the winner here. And an amazing little piece, especially the black “Test” version. This might be my favorite Norev 3″ along with their A110-50 and the original A110. Not sure if the other “Interceptor” one appeals that much, it would be amazing to see highway patrol start using these!

I never was a fan of the wheel-type on the HW. They look so… Unrealistic. And just look at the paint and those a-pillars on the Norev. The HW is just out of it’s league. So no need to start complaining about the off-position of the Renault Sport tampo on the tip of it’s wing…

So that’s it for this guest post. Next time I thought I’d share some Majorette but I’ve heard these finally hit shores in the USA so I might just stick with the Norevs. With Alpine introducing their new A110 at the 2017 Geneva Car Show recently it might be an opportunity to share the concept that didn’t come close to the final product: the A110-50.

Bon Week-End!

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17 thoughts on “Guest Feature: Renault R.S.01 by Norev and Hot Wheels, by Joep Verbeeten Leave a comment

  1. That Norev is a beauty…

    I must say, though, the Hot Wheels does hold its own, when you take into consideration the cost differential.

    It's nice that Norev and Mattel both saw fit to make this model…an unusual choice (at least here in the states) but very welcome.

  2. This actually shows just how much of a miracle 2016 is for modern-racer HW castings. Put the Renault on a premium line and I can guarantee you it will stand its ground against the blue-riband Norev.

  3. It kills me that I was never able to find the R5 Turbo on the pegs when it came out.

    I agree Mattel should do more French stuff, although they have done a fair amount, especially when you consider they don't sell French cars in America anymore…I'm thinking of the Matchbox Citroen DS (one of my favorite castings), and the Citroen C4 and Renault Megane Trophy from Hot Wheels. I'd love for one of the Mattel brands to do an Alpine though…

  4. Awesome post as always. Great to see Norev featured on the LamLey Group blog and to see it gain popularity on IG accounts from all over the world, an underrated brand that deserves more visibility.

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