Rally presentation for the new Abarth 124 rally in Sardinia :
Presented for the first time last March at the Geneva Motor Show and then at the 100th Targa Florio, the Abarth 124 Rally is making its début on the stage of the World Rally Championship at the Italy-Sardinia Rally, scheduled in June from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12. The car will displayed at the Service Park, the natural stage for exhibiting the ambitious technical DNA of the project.
The new Abarth 124 Rally is indeed a pure concentrate of technology and performance, the fruit of the experience of the Abarth Racing Team to bring Abarth back onto the most glorious and challenging rally courses with the special tests where the asphalt is hotter and those made treacherous by the slippery ice.
More than forty years after its last official race, the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally, the Abarth 124 Rally is back with the same philosophy: to test road cars' technical solutions under extreme conditions and to guarantee all Abarth customers excellent performance and maximum reliability.
It is dedicated to all those who share the brand's sense of challenge and racing world values.
Concealed beneath the bonnet is the 1800 cm3 turbocharged direct injection dual overhead camshaft engine. Thanks to the different selectable mappings, it provides power up to 300 HP at 6500 rpm and optimum torque curve, a key element to allow the driver steering and acceleration balance when oversteering. Performance is breathtaking, acceleration is scorching and marked with full, riveting sound. The project was developed to ensure reliability and performance also in the extreme conditions typical of rallies: ice, dirt, dust, water, heat.
Even the transmission was designed to enhance performance: the engine is coupled to a rapid 6-speed sequential gearbox with shift paddles and traction is assured by the mechanical self-locking differential.
Motor sports, for Abarth, is not only adrenaline, but also testing grounds to experiment with solutions that guarantee performance and excitement. To enhance the 124 Rally's competitiveness, the Abarth Racing Team's engineers have worked with precise objectives: first of all, weight reduction and overall balance. For this reason, the motor is mounted behind the front axle; for the cockpit and the engine compartment, light, resistant materials were used, while the soft top was replaced by a fixed carbon fibre hard top. With these features, weight distribution leans slightly towards the rear axle in order to ensure maximum traction even in low grip conditions. The centre of gravity was further lowered as compared to the road car to the advantage of road grip and straightforward performance.
The new Abarth 124 Spider was born light and agile, and the Rally edition was further refined to star in competitions. Homologation in the FIA R-GT category has required structural reinforcements to guarantee even greater stress resistance and the highest safety standards for the crew, and the body now has a safety roll cage, which also has the task of increasing the torsional stiffness and strengthening the attachment points of the "top mounts".
The whole design is focused on the search for maximum efficiency and ergonomics, ensuring the crew not only excellent performance, but also attention to every minute detail, such as the arrangement of interior controls and available space in the cockpit.
Rallies subject the cars to extreme stresses, and that is why the excellent mechanical scheme of the production car has been developed further. The suspension system - front high double wishbone and rear multilink - provide optimised kinematics and are now installed on special subframes that ensure, at the same time, higher mechanical resistance and considerable reduction in weight, while metal joints guarantee top driving accuracy.
To ensure maximum grip in all road conditions and adapt to the different special stages, the Racing Team technicians have been extremely careful in defining the suspension set up possibilities, which offer a broad adjustment of the characteristic angles, a greater bump position for difficult surfaces and, above all, hydraulic 4-way shock absorbers so that behaviour in compression and rebound and response to the high or low frequencies can be configured extremely accurately to indulge the driver's feeling.
The first-class mechanics has called for a new generation electronic system both to ensure top performance on the road and to optimise weight and overall dimensions.
Thanks to the high level of integration, all the main controls are ergonomically grouped on the steering wheel. In this way the driver can, for example, choose the different calibrations of the engine or select the mode of use of the traction control, from the one designed for fast, high-grip routes to that designed to support driving in low grip conditions.
The secondary controls are instead concentrated in the console area to be enabled also by the navigator in critical conditions or during transfers.
A modern rally car has to be designed not only to ensure top performance, but also to allow drivers, navigators and technicians to rely on a machine that can meet their expectations and adapt to multiple uses and situations. This is the reason why the new Abarth 124 Rally will offer the possibility to choose different configurations and set ups with real mechanical aspects, such as height from the ground, and the choice of the exterior livery to be reminiscent of the unforgettable triumphs of the Abarth brand in rallies the world over.
Finally, the SE139 code of the project is rooted in the pulsing heart of the brand's history, referring directly to Karl Abarth. The abbreviation SE means "Sports" and "Experimental", a direct connection with Abarth's values of craftsmanship and technical progress. The progressive number 139, on the other hand, reminds us that in its 67-year history, Abarth has developed an average of two racing projects per year: an outstanding achievement that few other automotive manufacturers can boast.