Classic & Sports CarsModern Exotic Cars 1997 Renault Sport Spider Trophy
- Year: 1997
- Make: Renault
- Model: Sport Spider Trophy
- Engine: F7R 2-L 16V inline 4 cyl.
- Transmission: Sadev Seq. 6 Speed
- Price: $39,995. OBO
The Renault story is one of triumph, but not without its share of tragedies. While today they reign as one of the largest automakers in Europe, their road was paved with more than a few bumps and many less-than-successful partnerships with every manufacturer imaginable. After decades of restructuring, the automaker that’s been around since 1899 now enjoys a successful collaboration with Nissan that’s yielded many highly awarded automobiles. What might be a surprise to some, however, is Renault’s serious involvement in motorsport.
Renault’s success in motor racing stems back to the turn of the 19th century. Their interest in motorsport was reignited in the 1950s when tuning firm, Gordini and manufacturer, Alpine proceeded to put Renault on the rallying stage – A relationship that would earn the marque success for decades to come. Renault would eventually purchase both companies and create their competition arm, Renault Sport Technologies. Known nowadays as a powerhouse engine provider for Formula 1, the company has enjoyed no less than twelve World Championships in the sport.
Along with their Formula 1 endeavors, Renault Sport also contributes to the brand by offering assistance with their single-marque racing program. Following major championships, these series incorporated many of their more popular road cars such as the 5 Turbo, 21 Turbo and later the Clio. Following these, their focus was to involve their exciting, new lightweight sports car for 1996. A product of Renault Sport — and assembled in the same Dieppe, France facility that Alpine used to call home — the anticipation was great.
The example on offer here is an example of one of these interesting creatures. Chassis number 10005, this 1997 Renault Sport Spider Trophy has enjoyed a more sheltered life than many of the examples that soldiered through the brutal series that traveled throughout Europe.
Hand assembled at Dieppe, chassis 10005 was to be used as a demonstrator for the stillborn, US-equivalent Spider Trophy series. It would later enjoy use as a highly competent track-day machine and occasional historic racer. The latter is now possible given the car’s recent eligibility within historic sanctioning bodies like Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR).
During its current ownership this Renault has enjoyed a fastidious approach to maintenance. Purchased in 2001 by the seller, the car was previously used as a pace car for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and in driver’s education events. Following this, the decision was made by the current owner to start with a clean slate and rebuild the ‘F7R’ 2.0L 16V, inline-four. The racing experts at Zotz Racing in Florida were employed to carry out the engine overhaul. The engine is currently described to have very little actual race time since the rebuild.
A later example, chassis 10005 enjoys the state-of-the-art, Sadev sequential, 6-speed, straight-cut gearbox. This unit has enjoyed regular maintenance and is described to exhibit smooth operation, with stellar shift speeds. Sadev, one of the leading manufacturers of racing gearboxes and differentials in Europe, has sites worldwide, including the United States.
This Spider Trophy has recently had its braking system serviced, with new brake rotors from Renault Sport, Carbotech high-performance brake pads and a brake fluid change. The car is described to deliver remarkable on-track performance. The seller is willing to offer an on-track ‘test drive’ with support for prospective interested parties, should individuals be interested in experiencing the car first-hand. Inquire within for details.
The lightweight aluminum chassis, carbon-honeycomb floor and composite bodywork are described to have never suffered any damage and its Metallic Silver paint shows nicely, corresponding with the car’s limited race use.
The seller, a racer himself, has owned and enjoyed many interesting cars to include a Renault R5 Turbo 2, and used the Spider Trophy at HSR events, which offers eligibility along with many other sanctioning bodies like SCCA, NASA, etc. The seller claims that it’s quite the conversation piece at enthusiast gatherings and track outings.
When released, the Renault Sport Spider was a much less obvious choice when faced next to the less expensive Lotus Elise of the time. This has made these fantastically French sports cars a rarity to see today. With outrageous styling, intriguing architecture and immense history of the organization, these cars represent a blip in history that many have likely forgotten. Renault’s single-marque series with the Spider helped groom such racing talent as Jason Plato and BMW’s Factory Touring Car ace and F1 test driver, Andy Priaulx. These cars are an instrumental part of Renault Sport’s history and have stayed off the radar long enough. The Spider, especially competition models, have all the makings of an interesting and usable collectible.
The 1997 Renault Sport Spider Trophy is offered at $49,995. It is currently located in our showroom and pre-purchase inspections are strongly encouraged. The vehicle is sold as-is and seller makes no warranties about the condition of the car. We will happily assist with shipping worldwide.