Re: Autodelta Italia - 156 Sportwagon
This car was shown at the Geneva motorshow early this year. Autodelta Italy is the racing department of Alfa Romeo like it has been in the old days.
Here is a press statement from Alfa about AutoDelta at the Geneva Motorshow:
This January, the Autodelta Racing Team (the official Alfa Romeo team) appointed the three drivers who will race in the 2004 European Touring Championship at the wheel of our 156 GTA cars: Gabriele Tarquini, winner of the 2003 driver's title, Fabrizio Giovanardi, who returns to race for Alfa Romeo and the young Brazilian Augusto Farfus, European Formula 3000 champion in 2003. The 2004 European Touring Championship takes the form of 10 events consisting of 2 races each. It will begin on 28 March in Monza (the second of the two Italian events will take place in Imola on 5 September) and it will end on 10 October in Dubai. Gabriele Tarquini, last season's unrivalled star, was awarded the driver's title at the last race in Monza. A Formula 1 driver 1988 from 1992, he raced under the Alfa Romeo colours from 1993 to 1996. During this time, he won the BTCC, the UK touring championship (in 1994) and the ITCC international touring championship (1996).
The big news is that we now welcome Fabrizio Giovanardi back behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo. This driver has won one Spanish title (1997) two Italian titles (1998 and 1999) and three European titles (2000, 2001 and 2002) with Alfa.
The arrival of Augusto Farfus sees Autodelta again opening the door to young talent after giving Felipe Massa his big chance in 2001. The twenty-one year old Brazilian Farfus began by racing mini motorbikes in 1991 and graduated to four wheels in the form of go-karts the following year. He eventually became the world vice-champion in 1999. In 2001, he won the Formula Renault and 2002 saw his debut in Formula 3000 (9th in the championship), while in 2003 he won the title.
The Alfa Romeo - Autodelta partnership again began to produce winning near-production model racing cars. The prototype on show at the 74th Geneva Motor Show certainly reveals Autodelta to be Alfa Romeo's high-tech powerhouse and advanced proving ground. The company has played this important role for more than twenty years in all motorsports specialities, including Formula 1.
The prototype is much sportier than the basic model and its mechanical units are derived directly from racing versions. This first impression is confirmed by changes to the body. Firstly, the wings have been expanded to accommodate 225 / 40 R 18 - 91 Y wheels. To lighten the vehicle, the bonnet is made out of fibre and bulges slightly to accommodate a new intake chamber. The sideskirts are also new and the bumpers are specific to the version: the front one comes with a built-in spoiler while the rear one is designed to take 4 exhaust tail-pipes. This aggressive shape is also mirrored inside the car. The Alfa 156 Autodelta passenger compartment is made to look extremely sporty by new chamois leather and high tech cloth trims.
And so from style to engineering. The model on show in Geneva is equipped with a powerful 3.5 V6 24v engine that develops 300 bhp at 6800 rpm and is combined with a 6-speed gearbox cooled by a supplementary radiator. This brand-new power unit is naturally derived from the 3.2 V6 24v fitted to GTA versions, with cylinder capacity increased from 3177 to 3548 cc (bore is 97 mm and stroke is 78 mm). The ride is even sportier than on the standard production model due to Bilstein adjustable shock absorbers and Eibach springs with a special setting. The callipers and discs on the ventilated, slotted Brembo front brakes are also oversized to a diameter of 330 millimetres.