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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Gary’s Renault Sport Clio 172

In June 2011 I left my job in Stockton and started a new one in Sunderland, meaning my daily commute of 70 miles had reduced overnight to just 2 miles. As an avid petrol head this meant only one thing to me, it was time to chop in the dirty diesel for something petrol powered.

My car at the time was a Skoda Fabia vRS with a failing dual mass flywheel and my goal was to do a direct swap with a dealer for something sporty and petrol powered. After scouring the internet I narrowed down my choice to a Renault Sport Clio. There are many variations of the Clio, you have the 172 phase 1, 172 phase 2, 172 cup, 182, 182 cup, 182 but with cup packs, 182 trophy…my mind was boggled!

I shortlisted 20 or so cars in the local area using Auto Trader, Pistonheads and ClioSport.net. Day 1 of car hunting ended up with my choice further narrowed, for the value of my current car I could have a 172 phase 1, 172 phase 2 or 172 cup. I discounted the phase 1 due to age and mileage which left me a choice, to cup or not to cup.

The main differences between a non-cup and cup are a half leather interior, aircon with climate control, Xenon lights and ABS, however the cup was almost 100kg lighter and came with nicer alloys and cheaper maintenance costs. In the end I decided on the non-cup model mainly for the Xenon lights and better interior. I traded my car for the Clio and a little bit of cash my way at the end of the second day of car hunting.

The day of purchase


Current Specs

Mileage 94,000 miles

Speedline 2118 15” ET43 7J Alloys
Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R Semi-R tyres
KTEC 2.5” Stainless cat back exhaust with hidden tailpipe
RSTuner 98 RON remap with launch control
Pure Motorsport Solid Top Mounts
Powerflex Dogbone bushes
KTEC Solid Engine mounts
Powerflex ARB bushes (Inner & Outer)
Full suspension refresh at 90,000 miles
Eibach Sportline Lowering Springs
Wilwood 4 pot front brake conversion with 295mm discs
Stainless Braided brake hoses
Ferodo DS2500 Pads
ATE Super blue DOT 4 Brake Fluid
Aircon and PAS delete, PAS replaced with Electronic PAS




After having MOT issues with the brakes for 2 years in a row and only just managing to get them working properly I decided it was time to splash some cash and get a proper set of stoppers on the car. There are many different brake kits available for the Clio, ranging from bracket kits to add the Clio 197 Brembos to the car, AP Racing kits for £2k, Peugeot 406 Brembo conversion kits and 4 pot kits from HiSpec and Wilwood.

My main criteria was to have something that would fit under the 15” wheels, as tyres are much cheaper in 15” and the smaller diameter also improves acceleration through the gears. This ruled out the 197 Brembos and the HiSpec 300m kit. The AP kit was ruled out for cost reasons and the Peugeot 406 Brembos were ruled out due to age. This left me with the 295mm Wilwood kit which just fits under the 15” wheel. I paired up the new 4 pots with some braided lines, ATE super blue brake fluid and Ferodo DS2500 brake pads, a combination that can take miles and miles of abuse without fading.

The new brakes improved pedal feel a great deal, and although they don’t necessarily have much more power than the already capable OEM setup, you can get much closer to the limit of adhesion without activating the ABS, resulting in overall shorter stopping distances. The new setup is also a lot lighter than original due to the aluminium calipers.




Possibly one of the most drastic and time consuming modifications I have made to the car was to strip off the original hydraulic power steering system and replace it with an adjustable electronic power steering setup. The main reason for doing so was the original power steering pump was failing and the steering rack was developing play around the centre. To replace the broken parts I was looking at upwards of £400, but I knew from information on ClioSport.net that I could convert the steering to electric for just over £200. The picture shows some of the bracketry from a 1980’s Volvo that was used in the conversion, other parts included a different alternator, steering column, electronic control boxes, wiring and a shorter accessories belt. As part of the EPAS conversion I also lost the air conditioning system.

The conversion took the best part of two and a half days to complete and I seemed to be removing half of the engine bay in the process, the end result was very tight and direct steering with adjustable assistance. The whole setup is also lighter due to losing the aircon radiator, pump and pipework, I also removed all of the hydraulic lines, reservoir and pump. An added benefit is the system only uses power when turning, unlike the hydraulic system which sapped power at all times.

Engine Mounts

A common issue with Clio’s is that the engine mounts start to give up at around 50k miles, resulting in rocking of the engine under acceleration and a sloppy gear change, sometimes getting bad enough to allow the downpipe to hit the subframe which creates a terrible noise. In order to prevent this I fitted a set of solid engine mounts along with a powerflex dogbone mount, this makes the whole engine solid in the engine bay with no movement, resulting in a much more direct response from the engine during acceleration and braking.



At 90k miles the suspension was starting to feel a bit tired, and in a car such as the Clio which in renowned for its handling this is no good thing. I decided to do a full refresh of the cars suspension to restore the original handling of the car as it would have come out of the factory, the parts replaced were;

• Front wishbones replaced with 172 cup wishbones adding an extra 1.5 degrees of castor including new ball joints
• New OEM dampers all round
• Eibach Sportline springs
• New track rods and track rod ends
• Pure Motorsport solid top mounts
• New wheel bearings



The car is used daily for commuting. I have also competed in an Auto Solo with the car where I finished in second place and also compete in navigation events at club nights where the car has won a few events. The car is also regularly used on B roads where it really excels and feels at home.

Current Problems

As with any car my car has a few problems that I’d like to sort;

• Blow from cat to centre join due to warped flange, I have a modified cat which uses a sleeve joint to fix this issue.
• Steering wheel is looking tired, I’d like to fit a smaller racing style wheel.
• Slight rust spot on the rear arches where the paint has chipped away.
• Rear silencer mount is sagging, I have a powerflex bush to fit to fix this.
• Rear discs will need replacing shortly.

Gary Laverick

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