Friday, March 30, 2018

1979 Formula Fiat Abarth

©2012 Warren Giancaterino. All Rights Reserved.
Warren Giancaterino 1979 Formula Fiat Abarth

1979 Formula Fiat Abarth
Warren Giancaterino (46) and John Hunt (07) at Willow Springs International Raceway (Turn 6) Rosamond, California

Italian Open Wheeled Race Car
Abarth founder Carlo Abarth began his well-known association with Fiat in 1952. The Abarth factory of Torino, Italy produced 150 Formula Fiat Abarth open wheeled race cars during 1979 and 1980. I'm the present owner of car number 54 of those 150 cars, Serial Number 033-054.

I've raced my Fiat Abarth at a number of tracks, including Sonoma Raceway, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, Willow Springs International Raceway and Streets of Willow Springs in Rosamond, California, Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, California, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Abarth - The Man, The Machines
by Luciano Greggio

Fiat Abarth Racing of Torino, Italy
I've been amateur club auto racing on and off since 1974. In that time I have raced Renault, Corvette, Saab, Porsche, Ford, Dodge, Lola, Mazda, and other large and small displacement racers. Recently my cars are a factory Toyota Celica, in the touring car category, a vintage Mofoco/Lola C sports racer, and a vintage 1979 Fiat Formula Abarth.

The Abarth is number 54 of 150 completely produced by the Abarth factory in 1979 and 1980 in Torino, Italy. It was and is an Italian training series much like the British Formula Ford series in England. Out of the Abarth series came Emanuele Pirro, Max Pappis, Alessandro Nannini and many more Formula One, Le Mans and touring car champions (a new Formula Abarth series is still racing).

The aluminum monocoque and tube chassis with fiber glass shell is incredibly engineered in a very aerodynamic wedge shape that gives it a great amount of downforce and that with its inboard rocker suspension allows the car to get tremendous cornering G forces.

I've raced on Goodyear, Pirelli, Michelin and Hoosier racing slick tires. All perform very well on the lightweight Speedline wheels. The big Brembo brakes stop the car from 100 to 0 mph in seconds.

It makes about 160 horsepower from its lightly modified Fiat twin cam 2L twin Weber carb transverse rear engine with a close ratio 5 speed Lancia transmission and weighs under 1000 lbs. It has a top speed of 152 mph. Of all the cars I've driven and raced this is the easiest and most pleasurable.


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