Renault Nervasport: the record-breaker (1934)

The specifications for the Nervasport des Records were pretty straightforward: the engine would be taken from the assembly line, the body supported by a wooden frame on a standard chassis and the bodywork designed purely with speed in mind.

The aerodynamic design of the car was entrusted to an engineer specialising in the aerodynamics of racing aeroplanes. The resemblance was unmistakeable. The single-seater was shaped like a rocket: a long bonnet, rounded at the front, with a tapered rear… Driven by an eight-cylinder 4,825cc engine, the Nervasport combined power and aerodynamic performance.

On 4 April 1934, the car took to the Montlhéry track as it attempted a 48-hour endurance record. The target record was 6,300 kilometres at an average speed of over 132kph.

Taking it in turns to complete three-hour stints, the four drivers – Roger Quatresous, Louis Fromentin, André Wagner and Georges Berthelon – headed by Auguste Riolfo, the Nervasport des Records ended up covering a massive 8,037km at an average speed of 167.445kph!

The Nervasport crossed the finishing line having broken nine international records and three world records – including the average speed records for 4,000 and 5,000 miles – and thus helped Renault to cement its place in the golden age of motorsport.