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New Member - RS Clio 197 F1 - Performance Mods in Perth


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Hi I'm a new member here. Good to find a home to talk about Renault Sport stuff. I've been running my RS Clio 197 F1 for many years and had lots of fun with it. Recently I finally managed to cut loose in it out on a track. That's what I bought it for many years ago - so it's taken a while - but I got there in the end! Now all this Coranavirus stuff is settling down a bit here in WA, I'm hoping to become a bit of a regular at the Barbagallo track days and run the little RS as a bit of a track day car. So I am struggling to resist the temptation to try to do some performance mods to up the fun factor a bit more. But the issue is I really don't know where to go here in Perth. Has anyone got any recommendations of anyone who has done good performance mod work on their RS in Perth? Short of going for the full Megane engine switch, I found some advice that the following set of mods could have a noticeable improvement: panel filter, ported and polished throttle body, cams, exhaust and remap. I would be really interested to hear if anyone here tried all, or most, of these changes as a set changes, and if they delivered on upping the track day fun factor!? Or if there's any other performance mods that people would recommend?

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Hi mate, welcome.

Better tyres, decent pads and brake fluid and just cut laps. My 200 has an Akrapovic and a remap, which helps with the midrange flat spot. You probably won’t notice that on track, but the exhaust note is worth a few km down the straight. 😎

Spend your money on track time. The cars are pretty good standard, just stay on top of the consumables with the best quality stuff you can afford.

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4 hours ago, speedfiend41 said:

Hi mate, welcome.

Better tyres, decent pads and brake fluid and just cut laps. My 200 has an Akrapovic and a remap, which helps with the midrange flat spot. You probably won’t notice that on track, but the exhaust note is worth a few km down the straight. 😎

Spend your money on track time. The cars are pretty good standard, just stay on top of the consumables with the best quality stuff you can afford.

Totally agree - and do a high performance driving course. You will pick up more time by doing that than anything else!!

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Filters, intakes, cams, exhausts, tunes etc are frankly a total waste of time on an F4R, there are gains but they are not value for money, plus more likey to end in catastrophic engine failure. What's telling is that you could easily spend 15k on throttle bodies, rods, pistons, ecu and find 30-40 HP. On a Turbo Megane you can spend $700 on a tune for the same gains.

Stock brakes are more than up to the task for sprints assuming good brake fluid. Good rubber for sure, if you want to go mad on spending coin an LSD is a way better use of funds than cracking open the motor.

The value from some proper driver training with good, experienced instructors cannot be understated. That does not mean a mate who's faster than you cause he drives a WRX and has done a few more track days......

Edited by Matt205
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On 28/06/2020 at 7:56 PM, Matt205 said:

Filters, intakes, cams, exhausts, tunes etc are frankly a total waste of time on an F4R, there are gains but they are not value for money, plus more likey to end in catastrophic engine failure. What's telling is that you could easily spend 15k on throttle bodies, rods, pistons, ecu and find 30-40 HP. On a Turbo Megane you can spend $700 on a tune for the same gains.

Stock brakes are more than up to the task for sprints assuming good brake fluid. Good rubber for sure, if you want to go mad on spending coin an LSD is a way better use of funds than cracking open the motor.

The value from some proper driver training with good, experienced instructors cannot be understated. That does not mean a mate who's faster than you cause he drives a WRX and has done a few more track days......

 

Probably the best advice I've seen on this forum since I joined about 3 years ago.

  

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Thanks for all the replies. I think that is good advice about focusing on improving the driver rather than the car, and also, if I did really want to up the power to the wheels then better go with a Megane. I am already booked in for the next "come and try day" at Barbagallo raceway, which includes some tuition, so I'm working on the driver side of things. But - there's always a but :-) - I can't help but think the little pocket rocket would be insanely good fun with another 30 bhp!! I had it out on a "tuning day" yesterday which includes sessions purely for street cars. It was my second track day in the car. Only previous relevant experience is about 10 pretty competitive go-karting session with mates, one rally day and half a lifetime growing up in England in a mostly pre-speed-camera era! So I sat in the pit lane at the start of my second 20 min run yesterday with a total of 1 hour 20 minutes experience on the raceway. Not much at all, but I though I at least know the layout, to the point that I'm not going to get any huge surprises. So I thought it was time to just  cut loose and push myself and the car to see what happened. The results? Well I discovered an amazing little race orientated car lurking under the compact hatch-back exterior! Of course I kind of knew it was probably there somewhere, but I got introduced to it in a big way! And the fun factor? It was like your most fun lap in a go kart - times five! I think I literally spent about half a lap driving around laughing out loud at one point! So comparing the Clio 197 F1 to other cars, especially much bigger, powerful cars - I found the Clio 197 can typically brake really late compared the others. I had ultimate confidence in the stopping power that others just didn't seem to have. And its cornering, balance and handling on the edge of grip around the curvy stuff was just fast, and fun!, compared to the others. In the lower speed, windy sections, I wouldn't say it could best, but it could certainly keep in touch with the big boys with the M and GTR badges on. But once the bends open up a bit, it really isn't very close to those and it can just barely keep in touch with the more mid level performance street cars. I would guess that in terms of accelerating out of bends and on the long straights - it felt it was probably in the bottom quarter of the fairly big and varied range of cars there. So, it's a little bit of a shame and it feels like it could be a really amazing track car with that bit of extra power. But, another thing that made me happy though was that I think the car really loved it and could have stayed out there all day! It was like it had finally been let out to play! When the others all parked up at the end and popped their bonnets to let the engines cool down, then I thought I guess I should go along with that and did the same, even though the needle was exactly where it is when I go on a gentle drive to the shops!

Anyhow, I'll keep thinking about it and intend to keep working on having fun in the car, and of course my driving skills. But if anyone has had any performance work done on their Renault Sport in the Perth area, even if it was just a tune and exhaust, and they can recommend the garage then it would be much appreciated, as I would't mind just a chat at least with them!

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On 05/07/2020 at 2:55 PM, Jimbobted said:

Thanks for all the replies. I think that is good advice about focusing on improving the driver rather than the car, and also, if I did really want to up the power to the wheels then better go with a Megane. I am already booked in for the next "come and try day" at Barbagallo raceway, which includes some tuition, so I'm working on the driver side of things. But - there's always a but :-) - I can't help but think the little pocket rocket would be insanely good fun with another 30 bhp!! I had it out on a "tuning day" yesterday which includes sessions purely for street cars. It was my second track day in the car. Only previous relevant experience is about 10 pretty competitive go-karting session with mates, one rally day and half a lifetime growing up in England in a mostly pre-speed-camera era! So I sat in the pit lane at the start of my second 20 min run yesterday with a total of 1 hour 20 minutes experience on the raceway. Not much at all, but I though I at least know the layout, to the point that I'm not going to get any huge surprises. So I thought it was time to just  cut loose and push myself and the car to see what happened. The results? Well I discovered an amazing little race orientated car lurking under the compact hatch-back exterior! Of course I kind of knew it was probably there somewhere, but I got introduced to it in a big way! And the fun factor? It was like your most fun lap in a go kart - times five! I think I literally spent about half a lap driving around laughing out loud at one point! So comparing the Clio 197 F1 to other cars, especially much bigger, powerful cars - I found the Clio 197 can typically brake really late compared the others. I had ultimate confidence in the stopping power that others just didn't seem to have. And its cornering, balance and handling on the edge of grip around the curvy stuff was just fast, and fun!, compared to the others. In the lower speed, windy sections, I wouldn't say it could best, but it could certainly keep in touch with the big boys with the M and GTR badges on. But once the bends open up a bit, it really isn't very close to those and it can just barely keep in touch with the more mid level performance street cars. I would guess that in terms of accelerating out of bends and on the long straights - it felt it was probably in the bottom quarter of the fairly big and varied range of cars there. So, it's a little bit of a shame and it feels like it could be a really amazing track car with that bit of extra power. But, another thing that made me happy though was that I think the car really loved it and could have stayed out there all day! It was like it had finally been let out to play! When the others all parked up at the end and popped their bonnets to let the engines cool down, then I thought I guess I should go along with that and did the same, even though the needle was exactly where it is when I go on a gentle drive to the shops!

Anyhow, I'll keep thinking about it and intend to keep working on having fun in the car, and of course my driving skills. But if anyone has had any performance work done on their Renault Sport in the Perth area, even if it was just a tune and exhaust, and they can recommend the garage then it would be much appreciated, as I would't mind just a chat at least with them!

Hey Mate,
Just saw your post. I Previously owned a standard Red 197. It didn't have an exhaust but it did have a K-Tec intake that I installed.
Not sure if it gives any true benefit but going off the old bum/butt dyno, the sound makes it feel faster. I sold the car for my current 182.
A mate of mine (@Phillyphil) used to own a 200 Gordini as well. He has been on Barbs many times with the Clio. So if you want any tips i'm sure he'll be happy to help.
His main thing is Motorkhana that is run by teccwa http://www.teccwa.com/khana, much more suited to the 197/200 characteristics.
If you have not already joined the Perth Renault Sport FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/749569791791741 I highly recommend joining in case you need any local advise.
If you ever want a custom tune a well renowned tuner from the UK was meant to be coming over at the end of the year; but for obvious reasons that has been delayed. 

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14 hours ago, PerthRS said:

Hey Mate,
Just saw your post. I Previously owned a standard Red 197. It didn't have an exhaust but it did have a K-Tec intake that I installed.
Not sure if it gives any true benefit but going off the old bum/butt dyno, the sound makes it feel faster. I sold the car for my current 182.
A mate of mine (@Phillyphil) used to own a 200 Gordini as well. He has been on Barbs many times with the Clio. So if you want any tips i'm sure he'll be happy to help.
His main thing is Motorkhana that is run by teccwa http://www.teccwa.com/khana, much more suited to the 197/200 characteristics.
If you have not already joined the Perth Renault Sport FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/749569791791741 I highly recommend joining in case you need any local advise.
If you ever want a custom tune a well renowned tuner from the UK was meant to be coming over at the end of the year; but for obvious reasons that has been delayed. 

Hey Jimbo,

As Benny Hofer said there is a few cool things to check out. I sold my Clio Gordini to my 19 year old cousin Cody so it's still doing the rounds. It has Akra exhaust (7kg weight delete vs standard), K&N panel filter, RE003 tyres, Quaife LSD and Powerflex road series engine & gearbox mounts.  It's a well sorted car worth checking out  

I wish I knew about this forum before I started out doing light circuit work like you described as I learnt from my mistakes which I will share with you.

1. The very first thing you need to do before you head on track is go and buy Redline MTL75-80 gear oil from the automotive retailers. It will cost you $120 for 3.78ltrs and DIY or mechanic to install. Plenty of you tube videos to help you DIY but search Clio 197 to make it easier. TL4 gear box takes 2.5ltrs approx. When you go on track at barbs with long straight and plenty of wide open throttle the engine particularly gets hot and transfers all that heat to the gear oil making the old gear oil breakdown. No matter if you can rev match down the box them standard OEM synchro’s rings made of cheese will start to fail. Change your gear oil every 2 years and you can't go wrong. Damage the synchro’s like it did and you need to budget $3k to put it right. 

2. Second thing to do is go on the KTEC UK site or there is a Powerflex engine mount distributor on the east coast, or eBay and order the top dog bone "Powerflex road series" (usually purple & yellow in colour) bushing. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Powerflex-Renault-Clio-Sport-Mk3-197-200-Upper-Engine-Mount-Arm-Bush-/163934244847 This is important as if you can push your engine front to back of the car and it has slop it need replacing. If not you can damage the header pipe flexy joint which is a whole new header if that fails. While your at it... the middle engine bushing and lower should be replaced as well as the gearbox mount. The lower engine bushing/mount are prone to cracking under the weight and stress of the engine and cars dynamics. Do all of this and the benefit is better more direct handling. Car will feel new again and best money spent in my opinion. I used Charlie at Bridgestone Select in Morley to install all my Powerflex bushings as he does all my cars wheel alignment geometry. He used to set up the Clio for 1 deg toe for turn in at Autokhana. 

3. Spend your money on regular oil changes at 5,000kms intervals. It's proven that just changing engine oil from old to new pics up a few ponies as old oil has debris that robs horsepower. I prefer Castrol Edge 5w-40 as its well priced on special and one of the biggest oil companies in the business. Your engine will love you for it and serve you well in return. Make sure you keep an eye on cam belt service. Needs replacing every 4 years. 

4. Change your brake fluid to Castrol Performance DOT4 and ensure your pads have heaps of meat. For the old track day no need to upgrade brakes straight away as they car is light on over braked compared to other hot hatches. No need to waste money at the start, the above is more important. 

All the above will cost you bugger all in the grand scheme if things and allow you to have fun and use your car with what it was designed to do which is carve corners. 

 

Now the expensive wish list - As far as performance mods I think the best thing was when I fitted the refurbished KTEC TL4 gearbox with uprated brass 3rd & 4th synchro’s rings I opted to have KTEC fit the Quaife LSD. It just puts down all that power to the road and allows you to be greedy and pick up the throttle early mid corner keeping you glued to them GTR and M badges you mentioned above  My refurbished TL4 box with new uprated brass synchro’s internals, LSD, new OEM clutch, new slave cylinder landed into Perth with gov duty was $4K... Ouch!

I do believe the car will benefit from light breathing mods. Another mate with a Clio Angel & Demon fitted the KTEC exhaust because bang for buck it was high quality finished for the price. Budget for $1,200 AUD landed into Perth.  It helped free up the engine and was quite a weight delete benefit as well compared to the heavy OE system. 

Don't spend crazy dollars on pulling off the head, polishing & porting and fitting CAT cams. It's huge dollars and the benefit is not there in my opinion. I reakon your better off changing the battery to a light weight lithium and removing the rear bench seat which will take 30kgs out of the car. KTEC sell a nice carpet to cover the whole rear hatch floor once the bench is removed. 

Spend your money on good tyres. Good tyres provide better laps times than any other mods. It's hard to find a tyre that performs well both on road and track. On a budget the for UHP Performance Passenger car tyre category Bridgestone RE003 when purchased on special (buy 3 & get 1 free) will cost you $650 fitted for your Clio 215/R17/45P. I bought 2 sets over the ownership of the Clio Gordini. They do an extra lap or 2 over say a Michelin Pilot Sport 4 or a Conti Sport Contact 6 starts to get over heated and you feel the car start to squirm and move around. 

Next step up from that is road legal weekend track tyre. There is 2 I know of to choose from that guys use at my Autokhana club. Yoko AD08R they will cost you $300 per corner only available from John Fowler in Osborne Park  john@johnfowlerautosport.com.au  he is a legend for car setup for motorsport and a really nice guy. Or Bridgestone have the RE71R which will cost you $250 per corner. 

You have already identified the last thing you need. Time in the saddle and an instructor next you with every opportunity you get :)

 

 

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Hey mate, my names cody and i now own @Phillyphil old clio gordini and the car is an absolute weapon. Previously i use to race go karts and stepping into the drivers seat in the clio is basically the same but a little bigger. I did my first full season of autokhana last season and came 2 in class and 3rd overall. If you are looking for a fun day out then i definately recommend it. If your interested in just a casual cruise as some of us renault boys go every now and then, you are welcome to tag along. Just add me Cody Vujcic or Phil Shain on facebook and we can organise one soon ish. At the moment, the gordini is out of service as it popped the fluid line for the slave cylinder the other week and im waiting to get a new one from france. But once its ready to go i will be for sure up to go cruising. Cheers

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wow really appreciate the great advice there from everyone! And @Phillyphil - that's a really awesome, detailed list to work through! I've got the car coming up for a service soon so I'm going to take on board your list and look to get the car more track prepped. I think the fluids and tires are a definite focus for this service and I'm going to look into the engine mounts you suggested as well. I'll be keen to quiz you on the KTECH gearbox mods another time. I think the weight loss plan is a good one too to think about too. I could definitely look to whip out the rear seats if I get more serious. I'll just tell the gf I wanted to turn it into a little van to make it more practical! lol! I did start fiddling around trying to take the back rest part of the rear seat out last time before I headed to Barbagallo but time was a bit short so maybe next time. I've heard the base is a bit more a case of once it's out then it's not necessary going to pop right back in. I think the slimming down is something I'll look at after a bit more experience and I get some regular, solid lap times. Hi Cody - good to hear from you. The autokhana sounds pretty cool - and good result for you! I think that is something I'll check out. Initial plan is try to be a bit of a regular at the weekend tuning sessions and try to pick up some instruction along the way. Then I vaguely though of trying that Regularity contest that WASCC run - just as a way of dipping my toe in to some competition, and maybe autokhana is a good next step. And cheers for the invite. I'm actually a bit of an old duffer with kids now lol! - but I guess you never grow out of trying to have fun in cars! I've got a solid ute for going 4x4 plus daily duties, plus the French hot-hatch - actually been really great fun for daily duties and weekend car and now I can finally say my "track car"! Other than the fact that I really like European hot-hatches, I chose the RS as I reckoned it was purely the most fun I could get for the money! And I was just very recently lucky enough to add a Mazda RX7 FD RS to make it a trio. That's my "take it for a spin on nice Sundays only car"! For now at least anyway - though I know it would love the raceway! So if you don't mind old duffers maybe I'll join sometime :-)! I'd like to think I'm a bit more of a Jeremy Clarkson than a James May (Captain Slow) - but no - I'm not that old lol!

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