Posts Tagged ‘hillclimb’

New Abarth developments for 2010

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Here’s a quick run-down of what we understand will be the main developments for Abarth in the UK next year:

The Abarth 500C comes to the UK in June July 2010.  Expect it to feature Start&Stop technology as standard, plus Xenon headlights and rear parking sensors.  This will mean an uplift in prices, as these options by themselves would normally add £1,050 to the price of a standard 500C.  No word yet on exactly what the sticker price will be, though.

The Abarth 500 continues largely unchanged for 2010, having already had its options list extended a couple of months ago with Xenons, etc.  Contrary to rumours, it won’t be getting the new MultiAir engine until 2011 at the earliest, so fence-sitters might as well get their orders in now.

The new Abarth Grande Punto will arrive in July 2010.  It won’t be called Punto Evo – that will be reserved for its Fiat brother – but will instead retain the Grande Punto name.  Its design is said to widen the gap between the Fiat and Abarth versions, and we’re hoping that means no Armco barrier across the front bumper or ugly Chrysler badge.

It’ll come with a 1.4-litre turbocharged MultiAir engine developing 170bhp 165 bhp (for some reason!) as standard.  Start&Stop will be standard, too.  More exciting, though, is the option of an MTA (automated manual) transmission, possibly with steering wheel-mounted paddles (update: still no word on this).

An Assetto handling kit will be available from launch, but the esseesse kit will follow on later.  Details of the kit are still being worked on. (update: esseesse likely to be available first, although with a disappointing 15 bhp increase).

The last piece of news is that the Abarth hillclimb challenge, using the Abarth Grande Punto 500, will likely make a repeat appearance for 2010, with an anticipated eight events across the country.

(Various updates applied as news comes through).

Abarth unveils Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Abarth is continuing its tradition of building accessible competition machinery with the unveiling of its new Abarth 500 R3T rally car.

Revealed for the first time at this month’s 51st San Remo Rally, the Abarth 500 R3T will feature in a one-make rallying trophy in 2010. The European and Italian Trophies for the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse circuit racer will continue.

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

For Abarth, the new car marks a return to a discipline in which it has been present for more than 30 years. Starting in 1977 with the first edition of the Autobianchi A112 Abarth Championship, Abarth continued with the Fiat Uno, Uno Turbo, Cinquecento, Seicento, Punto Kit and Super 1600, Stilo and Panda Kit Trophies.

The Abarth 500 rally car will be homologated in group R3T, a category reserved for supercharged cars with a maximum cylinder capacity of 1600cc. This class represents good value through its cost/performance ratio and is ideal for privateers and young drivers wishing to showcase their talent at the wheel of a high-performance car.

The Abarth 500 R3T’s 1368cc engine is fitted with a Garrett GT 1446 fixed geometry turbocharger, delivering 180bhp (132kW) at 5500rpm. It is equipped with a 6-speed sequential gearbox, a self-locking blade differential, twin disc clutch and special half-shafts.

Attention has been paid to the possibility of adjusting the suspension to adapt the set-up to suit different surfaces and drivers’ styles. Four Brembo disc brakes – ventilated at the front, solid at the rear – with an adjustable split system, provide the stopping power. The car also features a hydraulic hand brake.

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

The 1080kg Abarth 500 is fitted with a specific welded-in roll-cage integrated to the body shell, FIA homologated seats with 6-point harnesses and other necessary safety devices.

“Abarth’s ability to produce high quality racing and rallying machinery has never been in question,” says Ivan Gibson, manager, Abarth brand UK. “We have already seen how good the Abarth 500 race car is, and I am looking forward to watching this new rally car perform.”

The calendar for the Abarth rally trophy will be published later this year.

Meanwhile, the Abarth UK Hill Climb programme has ended for this season with the team’s two Abarth Grande Punto esseesse cars once again posting impressive times in the hands of UK journalists.

At last weekend’s Prescott Autumn Classic Hill Climb, Cheltenham – the seventh event this year for the Abarth UK team – writer and columnist John Simister managed a time of 54.81 seconds followed by fellow journalists Tim Dickson (55.20 secs) and John Swift (55.23 secs).

The Abarth UK team in action at Prescott

The Abarth UK team in action at Prescott

The times proved that the 180bhp Abarth Grande Puntos are not only high performing road cars, but are more than capable of delivering results in competition. Neither vehicle has used any spare parts throughout the season, and both have run with 100 per cent reliability while being driven to and from all the events contested.

“These are remarkable times considering we have been using standard road cars, without modification for hill climbs,” says Howard Paterson, Abarth team manager. “The cars have been so quick and so good this year, and we have hardly had to do any work on them. They haven’t even had new brakes.”

Successful weekend of racing for Abarth in the UK

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Thousands of motorsport fans were treated to a spectacular weekend of racing as the Abarth 500 European series came to the UK.

British driver Adam Jones took full home advantage to post two wins out of two over the action-packed weekend (18/19 July) at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. He was one of 11 drivers competing in the fourth round of the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy – one of the main attractions at the race meeting.

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

The Abarth 500 Assetto Corse’s speed, driveability and balanced power/weight ratio made it ideal for the Kent track and the cars were completing the lap distance at an average of 130 km/h (80 mph), creating an exciting spectacle for the crowds.

“It was good to see the Abarth 500 race cars here in the UK and what better place to showcase them than Brands Hatch?” says Ivan Gibson, head of Abarth in the UK. “Both days’ races were full of drama, great driving and wonderful excitement – which is what the magic of Abarth is all about.”

The fight for overall victory will resume at the next meeting of the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy, which is scheduled for 5-6 September in Germany.

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Meanwhile, two more Abarth cars were competing in Britain over the weekend – this time Grande Punto versions, which were entered into the BARC Hillclimb Championship at Gurston Down, near Salisbury.

The event was part of Abarth UK’s media motorsport programme, and allowed four of Britain’s top motoring journalists behind the wheel for an experience of the sport. It was a close thing with less than two seconds separating the drivers – Owen Mildenhall and James Disdale (Auto Express), freelance writer Jesse Crosse and Performance Car’s Chris Knapman.

Grande Punto Abarth at BARC Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

Grande Punto Abarth at BARC Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

Abarth Hillclimb Challenge starts with a Class Win

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

After an early season shakedown at Harewood Hillclimb in Yorkshire, Abarth UK kicked off its celebrity media motorsport programme with a class win last weekend. This came courtesy of Autocar’s Matt Rigby, during Bognor Regis Motor Club’s well supported Sprint at Goodwood circuit near Chichester.

The Abarth Hillclimb drivers

The Abarth Hillclimb drivers

The team’s two immaculate Abarth Grande Punto esseesse cars formed part of a 94-strong entry, and were driven to great effect by four members of Autocar’s editorial team, led home by Rigby who finally won the standard car class, just 0.4 seconds ahead of team mate Ollie Stallwood in second place.

Rigby’s previous motorsport experience, limited solely to endurance go-karting, provided ample encouragement for his team mates, who nevertheless just failed to eclipse the young road tester, who sportingly attributed his success to the forgiving nature of the Abarth Grande Punto. “It was a joy to drive around Goodwood circuit, and I was able to improve my time by over three seconds on the final run – just enough to stay ahead of Ollie!”

Grande Punto Abarth at Goodwood

Grande Punto Abarth at Goodwood

A series of hillclimb events now await the team as it prepares for Doune, near Stirling, in Scotland on 20/21 June; Shelsley Walsh (Worcester) 4 July; Gurston Down (Somerset) 19 July, and Harewood (Yorkshire) 2 August. Abarth UK’s motorsport season closes with another Sprint at Thoresby Park, Nottingham, on 12 September.

Ivan Gibson, head of the Abarth brand in the UK, says: “This programme was devised with the basic idea in mind that an enthusiast can enjoy competitive club motorsport with an Abarth road car at the weekends, while using it normally for all domestic duties during the week. We’re delighted that Autocar was able to provide our first team this season, and congratulate Matt Rigby on a great drive.”

Grande Punto Abarth at Goodwood

Grande Punto Abarth at Goodwood

The Abarth Grande Punto esseesse, which is available through Abarth’s 16-strong UK dealer network, is powered by a 180bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged T-Jet engine which delivers 272Nm of torque at 2750rpm through a six speed gearbox. Top speed is 133mph, with 0-62mph acceleration in 7.5 seconds.

Grande Punto Abarth takes to the Hillclimbs

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Abarth will be attending a series of hillclimbs at venues across the UK to showcase the performance of the Grande Punto Abarth.  The events will be organised by local motorsport clubs and will take place at the following dates and venues:

Abarth will be entering two Grande Punto Abarth esseesse at each event, driven by selected motoring journalists, who will have been driving the cars on the road for a week prior to the event so as to gain an all-round picture of the car’s performance.

Local dealers have been invited to enter their own demonstrators, and Abarth owners can also compete.  However, to do this you’ll need to apply for a competition licence, and will have to pay both for membership of the organising club and the event entry fee (typically around £100 for each event).

Spectators are welcome to most events (admission is typically around £10 per person), and the Abarth hospitality rig will be in attendance.

Grande Punto Abarth at Hillclimb circuit

Grande Punto Abarth at Hillclimb circuit