Scandinavian flicks, dropping wheels in the dirt, locked brakes, and plenty of fireballs from the side-exit exhaust—not necessarily what you’d expect from what was once a front wheel-drive economy car. Well, perhaps the Renault 5 GT Turbo was more a hot hatch than an economy car, but in order for one to do the sort of acrobatics seen here, it required tasteful modification and an truly gifted driver.
Spaniard Javier Martinez Carracedo has put years of sweat and tears into optimizing this agile hatchback. The 1.4-liter 4-cylinder is a genuine Group A product, and outputs roughly 200 horsepower, which is sent through a six-speed sequential. The Tecnoshock suspension is perfected, and the big brakes bring the ~1,800-pound Renault to a halt easily. These modifications lay the foundation for a near-telepathic relationship between Carracedo and his car.
The way with which he tosses this hatchback around, almost disdainfully, is remarkable—especially since he does so with real precision. Fortunately for the spectators, the car is visibly on and over the limit, so we can experience some of Carracedo’s thrill vicariously. His aggressive style is there for all of us to witness—first at 0:32. Maximizing the radius of the corner and using the edge of the road to counteract the centrifugal force acting on the car, he does what Initial D fans refer to as a “gutter-drop.”
The gusto only escalates from there. His Scandinavian flick (0:38) is perfectly executed; his two downshifts happening while braking and turning, first to the left, then the right. By shifting weight to the front, this lightened rear of the car—which, being a front wheel drive, is already quite light to begin with—is agitated and rotates the Renault into the right-hander at high speeds. On that note, observe how the inside rear wheel locks solid as the car rolls slightly across a crown and changes direction while braking (0:46). Its light weight might make it agile, but it needs to be managed carefully to keep it out of the guardrails.
Carracedo is clearly up to that task, as demonstrated in the last shot. In order to get the car up on its tippy toes and pull off such spectacular stunts, one has to be intimately acquainted with one’s car. After a decade of refining this car and experiencing its discerning but rewarding nature on the limit, Carracedo is probably closer with this Renault than most people are with their spouse.
For more information on the car, here is its classified page.