At the start of the 20th century, car racing was focused on city-to-city races. Many new and small car companies considered racing as a great opportunity to bring their own brand in the spotlight. The Renault brothers started racing in the small car category and quickly made a name for themselves in city-to-city races. The Renault Type K was designed as a serious contender in the open category.
Built in 1902, the Renault Type K race car was a 3.43 metres long and 1.48 metres wide. It was powered by a 4-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3,770cc. The engine produced around 24 horsepower at 1,100rpm.
For the 1902 Paris-Vienna race, Renault entered three Type K models and four small cars. The race was tough for both the cars and the drivers. Competitors crossed the Alps via the Arlberg Pass at 1,500 metres above sea level. Nobody gave the Renault Type K much of a chance alongside large and powerful vehicles like Count Zborowksi’s Mercedes and Henry Farman’s Panhard. But the Type K’s light weight proved to be major benefit on the steep roads and Marcel Renault crossed the finish line 1st, having covered 1,300 km at an average speed of 62,5 km/h.