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Baby rocket powers up

While it may spend its life on racetracks, the tiny Fiat Abarth 500 Assetto Corse will be a wild little thing. It is powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged 1.4-litre engine that puts out 147kW of power and 300Nm of torque. It will have a six-speed gearbox and full racing trim that includes 17-inch ultralight racing wheels, an aerodynamic rear spoiler and racing front grille, complete with twin air-intakes.

Although gaining a full racing roll-cage for safety, the baby Fiat race car will be 180kg lighter than the road car. They will be available in any colour you want, as long as it is pastel grey with red stripes.

Fiat released the first pictures of the new car this week. Fiat Australia spokesman Edward Rowe says the car will be raced in a series of one-marque national championships throughout Europe from next year.

Rowe says the power output of the baby racer is twice that of the Fiat 500 cars used in the celebrity challenge at this year's Australian Grand Prix.

Fiat's involvement in personalising the car and the series extends to the Italian marque providing full racing outfits for each driver.

An appearance Down Under is unlikely as there is not a natural category for it to race in.

Fiat has no plans to introduce a one-make championship in Australia as BMW has done with the Mini Challenge for Mini Cooper racing cars that started this year.

But Rowe says the company has received expressions of interest from drivers in Australia to race versions of the sporty Fiat 500 Abarth road car due here next year. They would most likely contest production car championship events, including the Bathurst 12 Hour race.

Fiat Abarth racing cars were a common sight on European racetracks and rallies in the 1960s. The most successful model was the 850TC.

In Australia, two Fiat 600s (the larger version of the 500) contested the first Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island in 1960, the forerunner of the Bathurst 1000.



Fiat 500 Abarth Assetto Corse

Price: N/A

Engine: 1.4L/4-cylinder turbo 147kW/300Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual


David Fitzsimons
Contributing Journalist
David Fitzsimons is a former CarsGuide contributor, who specialises in classic cars.
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