Pinched from Alfa Romeo's Australian site (http://www.alfaromeo.com.au/default....ticle&ID=18640
Fast, Frugal And First: Diesel Alfa 159 Takes Oil Burner's Prize At Bathurst
The Alfa Romeo 159 JTD 2.4 has proven that its not just frugal, its also fast with the oil burning Alfa Romeo taking the diesel class win in the weekend's (8 April 2007) WPS Bathurst 12 Hour race, completing 218 laps and 1351 km in 12 hours at the legendary Bathurst track with Kean Booker, Rocco Rinaldo and Alfa Romeo's Australian boss, David Stone, behind the wheel in the Supercharge Batteries/Thomson Alfa backed 159 JTD.
"This result has blown the myth of slow and boring diesels out of the water," says David Stone. "We took what is basically a standard Alfa Romeo 159 JTD, fitted the required safety gear, took it to Bathurst and brought back the class win. The Alfa was fast, frugal, reliable – and a winner. What more could be wanted from a race car!"
"The range of performance offered by the Alfa was remarkable. During the event the Alfa Romeo averaged 17 litres per 100 km and this dropped to just 7.0 litres per 100 km when the safety car was out. We changed just the front tyres once during the event, really only as a precaution, and one set of brake discs not only lasted the whole race, we used just a little more than 25 per cent of the pad thickness. The Alfa's engine used no oil at all," says Mr Stone.
Although popular in Europe, diesel car racing is still new in Australia, something the Supercharge Battery/Thomson Alfa Team were aiming to change.
"With our obsession with power in Australia, we often forget that diesels beat petrol engines hands down when it comes to torque," says Mr Stone. "With 400 Nm from just 2.4 litres, the 159's Turbo diesel is punching out more torque than some V8s and its that torque that made the 159 so competitive at Bathurst, enabling it to blast up the mountain over and over again!"
"Once we were on the move, we used just 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gears, maxing out at 225 kmh. But more telling is the fact that we kept the revs between 2800 and 4000 rpm, which along with the fact that it had the standard exhaust making it very quiet, the 159 was a remarkably relaxing car to drive in the event, something that is very important on an endurance race. Indeed, we even put the AirCon on several times during the race!"
The drivers of the Alfa 159 JTD entry are all fully committed to Alfa Romeo off the track as well as on it – Kean Booker helped set up one of Sydney's leading Alfa Romeo dealerships, Rocco Rinaldo is the sales manager at Thomson Alfa Romeo and completing the team is David Stone, the General Manager for Alfa Romeo in Australia.
"The interest in the Alfa 159 from the public and other teams was remarkable," says Mr Stone. "They saw a highly effective racing car, one that has cut fuel use and therefore emissions but not excitement and performance. I am sure that in coming months the 159 is going to see a lot more diesel competition, but I am equally sure it will remain the car to beat!"