Life with a used Renault Clio Renaultsport 182 – part 5
A new 330mm steering wheel has had the biggest effect on how this 122k-old Clio drives
My new racing steering wheel is 330mm in diameter, wrapped in suede and can be reached with a slight bend in the elbows. It is the single best modification I have made to the Clio yet.
Those who’ve read earlier blogs may know that this steering wheel is the latest addition to my Renaultsport Clio 182 since it was revived in the spring after a year off the road. It’s going through a mild transformation into a, breathe in, ‘track car-inspired fast road hot hatch that’s still fairly usable on a day-to-day basis’. My latest fitment of an Oreca-branded wheel has removed the horrible, bus-like 370mm standard helm, which made a car that weighs little more than a tonne feel cumbersome to steer.
Now it feels more sprightly and reactive – through illusion, of course, because I’ve not changed anything chassis-wise – and this ultimately translates into more fun. The addition of an OMP boss has also edged the wheel closer to my chest by a couple of centimetres, meaning I can get more comfortable in the bucket seat to create a position that makes the standard one feel, by comparison, like sitting on a bar stool.
For those wondering, the parts, including the airbag resistor to switch off the warning light triggered by the dearly departed airbag, were supplied and fitted at Renault Sport specialist K-Tec Racing in Devon. The service was top notch – the whole thing took just over an hour to sort and they slotted me into a last minute booking just three days earlier. They also fitted the sleeve with cruise control buttons you can see on the picture, although this was sourced on Cliosport.net from user Iamjoel.
My three-hour lug back to London from K-Tec gave me plenty of time to confirm that this sleeve is a fantastic and worthwhile addition. It works perfectly and I think it looks rather cool too – a bit like the buttons on a racing car. Some people choose to ditch the cruise buttons altogether, but I’m someone who genuinely uses the system on almost every motorway journey. It’s the main contributor to me being able to sit steady at dead on 70mph, where the car happily averages a trip computer-indicated 41.5mpg. So the buttons were always going to stay in my car.
Now that the first step in the car’s track-inspired transformation is done, I can look to the next one – a harness. Like a true car nut I was straight back onto the internet within five minutes of the wheel having been fitted and I’m quite tempted by the Safety Devices one, but prices start at about, gulp, £129.
I’m also still mulling over where to mount the harness from – the forums suggest bolting them to the rear seatbelt mounts (with the rear seats out) might be too low of an angle, which is bad, apparently, for safety. But fitting a half roll cage to attach it to is way, way beyond my budget at this moment. Plus, since I won’t be taking the Clio onto track (she’s 122,000 miles-old and has done her fair share of track stints to deserve circuit retirement), it’d probably be a pointless addition.
Clearly more mulling time is needed. But first, I’m going for another drive.
Source: Autocar Online