Kadjar Diaries – Returning Renault to Le Mans

21st July 2016
Ben Miles

Renault was once a force to be reckoned with at the Le Mans 24 Hours, clinching victory with the stunning Renault Alpine A442B in 1978 at the hands of Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi.


These days they choose to concentrate more on the single-seater side of motorsport, winning countless titles with Williams in the '90s before securing a couple more under their own name in the mid-2000s and returning to the sport in their own right this year.

We thought it only right that the French manufacturer return to the hallowed tarmac of La Sarthe for 2016, so when our trip there was being planned we looked no further for transport than our long-term Kadjar.

You have to lug a fair old amount of kit to mid France for Le Mans, especially for those of us who eschew the modern conveniences of the 21st century and insist on still camping. So the huge 472 litres of boot space was exceedingly useful. Packed with tent, chairs, food, clothes, photography equipment and two passengers, the Kadjar set off for France.


The drive from Cherboug is almost entirely down France's excellent motorway network, a place where the Kadjar excels. We've spoken before about the comfort of the interior and sticking it in eco mode and applying the cruise control eased the journey considerably. Sure the supercars that passed us on the way got there a little faster, but we were more relaxed - and able to carry all our stuff in one go.

On site the Kadjar briefly became the GRR office while the electricity situation on the campsite was sorted out. One of the team spent several hours sitting in the big red Renault working, enjoying the air conditioned atmosphere and thankful for the large front seats' ability to swallow computing equipment. This also elicited some bemused looks from the owners of a group of TVR Sagarises (Sagarise?) nearby. However the Kadjar had the last laugh, easily pulling itself out of an increasingly muddy site while the sportscars began to struggle.

Job done: GRR had successfully returned Renault to Le Mans. Hopefully it'll be the start of something big...

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