FCA What's Behind: Season 2, Episode 1 – The Engine Revolution
The second season of FCA What's Behind looks at the major transformation underway in the mobility sector.
The cars of tomorrow, already in development, will be even more tailored to customer needs, with major improvements in technology and efficiency. The first episode is about the heart of every car: the engine.
Season 2, Episode 1 of FCA What’s Behind begins, of course, with the engine. It takes a look back at the history of engines and shows how FCA's global powertrain research and development activities are focused on the technology solutions best suited to the new concept of mobility.
To paraphrase Aristotle, the engine is conceptually the "prime mover" of the profound interest and fascination provoked by the automobile from the very beginning. In the early years, the goal of automakers was to make engines increasingly more powerful. This led to the creation of many legendary engines and also saw development of many sophisticated solutions that are still in use today.
Although hidden under the hood, the engine often attracts greater curiosity and fascination than other parts of a vehicle which may be more visible but are less decisive in terms of the decision to buy or the overall evaluation.
From the Mefistofele to full electric
Over time, the search for improved performance has been joined by other requirements resulting from historical necessity, insights or advances in industrial processes: the episode provides an overview of the evolution of the engines that shaped the history of FCA and the automobile in general.
From the Fiat Mefistofele and its 6-cylinder engine which, nearly a century ago, reached speeds in excess of 230 kilometer-per-hours to the highly-successful FIRE engine which has sold more than 30 million units, and from the common rail to the FireFly, FCA has more than a century of innovation behind it and today faces a new challenge: to create the sustainable propulsion systems of the future, while enhancing the performance and efficiency customers have come to expect, including via new propulsion solutions. The current FCA range includes Mild Hybrid versions of small cars, where weight, footprint and cost are critical elements; Plug-in Hybrids which offer "pure electric" mode without sacrificing performance, even off-road; Full Electric for the new urban mobility and to create a better future.
A virtual flashmob to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the legendary Abarth Exhaust
May 4, 1950: at the 32nd Turin Motor Show, 70 years ago to the day, the Scorpion brand debuted the Abarth Exhaust, its first. A legend was born.
In typical Abarth style, the whole community will be taking part in a virtual flashmob as part of the celebration.
The founder’s construction philosophy resulted in the modern Record Monza exhaust systems. Since 2008, the tailpipe has undergone a series of innovations, all featuring its unmistakable muffled yet full sound.
On May 4, 1950, at the 32nd Turin Motor Show, Carlo Abarth presented the "Abarth Exhaust,” probably the best-known accessory in the renowned conversion kits that brought worldwide fame to the Scorpion brand. Today, the founder’s performance concept – taken as research and development into innovative solutions – can also be seen in the sophisticated “Record Monza” exhaust systems fitted to the latest generation Abarths.
Abarth is also celebrating this special anniversary on social media, by inviting its community to take part in a virtual flashmob. With a typically Abarth call to arms, the brand is inviting its community to let their voices be heard: users will be asked to upload an Instagram Story with an impression of the sound of their exhaust in their own voice, under the hashtag #TheRumbleLipChallenge. Basically, a challenge for real Abarthisti.
That community is one of the pillars of the Scorpion brand: there are now 83 official clubs, almost twice as many as in 2016, as well as “The Scorpionship” group, active in the EMEA region for four years, with more than 114,000 subscribers. This group of enthusiasts and fans continue to support the brand through these difficult times, showing we can remain united even at a distance.
The Abarth Exhaust: from Sporting Triumph to Commercial Success
In 1949, Carlo Abarth founded Abarth & C., with the great foresight of adding attentiveness to the general public to his exploits on the racetrack. The result was the conversion kits for cars produced as standard, which increased their power, maximum speed and acceleration.
A distinctive feature of the renowned tuning kits is the exhaust system, which would become a true icon of the “Abarth style” over the years. The official debut took place at the Turin Motor Show on May 4 and was an immediate success.
The first prototypes included a simple yet innovative system, giving his products a clear performance advantage and an unmistakable muffled yet full sound. Within a few years, Abarth & C. had gone global: in 1962, with a staff of 375, it produced 257,000 exhausts, 65% of which were exported.
Its success was immediate and extraordinary. The first 50 units were built for the Fiat “Topolino”. It could be fitted to many Fiat models – from the 600 and 1100 to the 1400 and 1500 – but the resounding success came with Fiat’s icon: the legendary 500. Carlo Abarth fell in love with it, leading to the creation of the first Fiat-Abarth 595, which began its winning streak on all kinds of tracks. At the same time, the brand also debuted its famous “Abarth tuning kits” for adjustments to the 500, becoming an object of desire for the general public.
The New "Record Monza" Exhaust System and its Unmistakable Sound
Since the launch of the new Abarth 595 in 2008, the brand has revived the Abarth sports exhaust, to reproduce the Scorpion brand’s classic sound. In particular, the double chrome tailpipe revisits the design of the system adopted by the 595 Assetto Corse racing version, confirming that the racetrack is the ideal laboratory to test solutions that could one day be used in roadgoing cars.
Following the same design philosophy, in 2009 the Abarth brand launched a kit known as the “Record Monza” exhaust system. The name is a clear tribute to the speed record achieved by Carlo Abarth on the historic Italian circuit, where he broke the quarter-mile acceleration record in 1965, at the age of 57. The powerful sound is the result of a perfect combination of Dual Mode technology with four tailpipes, and its bold design. In detail, Dual Mode technology involves a two-way mechanically controlled valve inserted upstream of the tailpipe, to boost the exhaust backpressure curve.
In 2011 it was the turn of the “Record Modena” kit, the main feature of which is the powerful, bold sound produced by high-performance exhausts based on the most advanced technology, including the Dual Mode system, alongside an eye-catching, sporty design. We can witness a much more muffled, darker sound from the dual exhaust Akrapovič system, fitted with an active electronic valve, switched on by pressing the Sport button.
2018 marked the debut of the new Abarth 595 and its “Record Monza Attivo” exhaust system, with its special feature an active valve controlled by the Sport button on the dashboard. While the exhaust valve opening had previously been based on exhaust gas pressure, the driver could now take direct action to choose between a “gentleman driver” sound and a darker, feistier, typically Abarth roar. The result is a powerful, bold sound, an ideal combination of technology and design. The “Record Monza Attivo” exhaust system is now available as standard on the 595 Competizione, 595 Pista and 695 70° Anniversario models.
All the secrets of the new Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile fitted to the iconic Abarth 695 70° Anniversario.
Tested in the FCA wind tunnel in Orbassano, near Turin, and on the Vallelunga circuit near Rome, the Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile improves grip on fast mixed courses and stability at high speeds.
The quest for performance, including continuous refinement of aerodynamics, was epitomized in the 1960s by the aerodynamic “torpedo” Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record (1960) and the renowned Abarth 1000 Corsa (1966), the first model with a resin spoiler.
Carlo Abarth’s “performance concept” went way beyond a quest for pure power, maximum speed, and acceleration. His thoughts turned to all-round performance, and therefore to research and development into innovative technical solutions, to improve aerodynamics, road holding and brake power.
"In the same spirit, we have produced the Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile, which made its debut a few months ago on the limited edition Abarth 695 70° Anniversario,” stated Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands. “It is one of the best and most iconic aerodynamic solutions for a road car, developed on the basis of the philosophy of our founder, who studied aerodynamics on the track and on everyday roads. The epitome of the application of aerodynamics can be seen in the renowned, multi-prize winning 1960 “silver torpedo” Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record Pininfarina, which smashed multiple speed records, and in the later, equally famous 1966 Abarth 1000 Corsa, one of the first cars in the world to feature a resin spoiler.”
The new Abarth 695 70° Anniversario pays tribute to this very record with its new Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile, a characteristically Abarth racing component that also recalls the spoiler of the 1980s Lancia Delta Integrale, which produced the sensation of being a real rally driver when on the road.
The Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile and all its secrets
The fruition of the work of Abarth engineers in the FCA wind tunnel in Orbassano, near Turin, and on the Vallelunga circuit near Rome, the Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile improves the car’s aerodynamic performance and therefore increases grip on fast mixed courses and stability at high speeds. For Carlo Abarth, performance was a constant requirement, especially on the racetrack. Just like in a race, where it is not unusual to see technicians manually fine-tune the spoiler tilt so the driver can set the car’s behavior according to the course and his driving style, the spoiler fitted to the Abarth 695 70° Anniversario can also be manually adjusted, into 12 positions with tilt ranging from 0° to 60°. In an attempt to offer maximum flexibility, drivers are given the option to adjust the spoiler depending on the course they are about to tackle, as well as positioning it as they wish, regardless of performance
At maximum tilt (60°), at a speed of 200 km/h, the spoiler increases aerodynamic load to 42 kg. Especially on fast mixed courses, this ensures excellent vehicle dynamics and improved stability at high speeds. A concrete example would be the “Rome Curve” at the Vallelunga circuit. The Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile can reduce steering correction by almost 40%, for a “cleaner” and more efficient drive, giving the driver greater confidence to push back the limits. Optimization of aerodynamics also affects acoustics, curated ideally to reduce turbulence, for a more comfortable daily run around.
To achieve such a technical level, the new Abarth 695 70° Anniversario was tested in the full-scale aerodynamic wind tunnel at Orbassano, south of Turin, where FCA puts its vehicles through their paces. This center of excellence made it possible to develop and test the Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile on the Abarth 695 70° Anniversario, in all possible configurations and various conditions of vehicle attitude.
Aerodynamics and its earliest application, the first resin spoiler for the 1966 racing Abarth
From 1956 to 1966, Scorpion cars set as many as 133 records, the result of extreme use of the concepts and laws of aerodynamics. This illustrious history includes the 8 astonishing records broken by the Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record Pininfarina in 1960. Largely thanks to the implementation of the laws of aerodynamic efficiency, the Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record Pininfarina was immediately nicknamed the “silver torpedo,” for its sleek streamlining. Developed in the wind tunnel at the Polytechnic University of Turin, the new aerodynamics resulted in an exceptional Cx of 0.20.
But coming back to the founder’s slogan of “Sunday on the track, Monday in the office,” it proved necessary to improve the aerodynamics of “normal” racing cars, too. Abarth did so by combining work on the official team and the production of racing components with sporting and commercial success. By the 1970s, Abarth sports tuning kits had converted city cars into race winners, opening the way for many young drivers to start a successful career in racing.
The first model to benefit from these aerodynamic insights and knowledge was the Abarth 1000 Corsa (the racing version of the roadgoing 600). In 1962, its wins were ubiquitous, crossing the finish line with a famously open rear bonnet, which, apart from dissipating the heat from the engine, clearly resulted in an aerodynamic advantage.
The ingenious Abarth then produced a resin spoiler in 1966, becoming one of the first companies to take advantage of that component on a racing car. The Abarth 695 70° Anniversario Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile pays tribute to this record, proving that the racetrack has always been the ideal testing ground for the Abarth brand to test technical and technological solutions before fitting them to roadgoing Scorpion cars.
A new calendar for the 2020 Abarth Rally Cup: 6 events in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), including a new one, the spectacular Azores Rallye
The 2020 season of the Abarth Rally Cup officially opens with the Rally di Roma Capitale on July 24, then continues to Latvia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary and Spain
The new event is the Azores Rallye, one of the most spectacular in the international calendar
The 2020 season of the Abarth Rally Cup will be ready to restart the engines on July 24 at the Rally di Roma Capitale, the opening race of the FIA ERC 2020.
In the last few days, the new calendar has been published for the one-make racing reserved for the Abarth 124 rally, consisting of 6 prestigious races, all of which are valid for the overall European championship.
Four of these races are held on tarmac: Rally di Roma Capitale (July 24-26), Barum Czech Rally Zlín (August 28-30), Rally Hungary (November 6-8) and Rally Islas Canarias (November 26-28); while two are run on gravel: the Rally Liepāja in Latvia (August 14-16) and the Azores Rallye, scheduled from September 17 to 19.
The latter is the new event for the 2020 season. The race on the Portuguese archipelago is one of the most spectacular in the world for the breathtaking scenery where the competitors will take the wheel. An especially iconic section is the Sete Cidades special stage, which takes place along the rim of a volcanic crater lake.
This is an additional opportunity for drivers taking part in the Abarth Rally Cup, with a prize fund of €30,000 for each race, plus the grand prize for the Championship winner, worth the same amount. The final standings for the Abarth Rally Cup will be drawn up on the basis of the top 5 results.
The Scorpion brand will also see private teams on the racetrack, with engineers and technicians providing spare parts services in the pit, along with the Abarth Hospitality provision.
While we wait to restart with the 2020 season of the Abarth Rally Cup, Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands, and Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator, take stock of the sporting successes of the Abarth 124 rally and the Abarth Rally Cup, part of the FIA European Rally Championship