Alfa Romeo returns to South African motorsport scene
Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa, importer of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fiat Professional and Abarth vehicles locally will campaign an Alfa Romeo GT 3.2l V6 "Squadra Corse" racing car in the Africa Endurance Series in 2015.
The resumption of local racing with the head-office supported Alfa Romeo Motorsport is being hailed by local "Alfisti" as the premium brand has an illustrious history in South African motorsport.
The return to the track is certain to evoke memories of the monumental on-track battles that were fought in the seventies and eighties with names like Arnold Chatz, Abel D'Oliviera and Nicola Bianca, to name a few.
FGA's previous foray into motorsport locally dates back to the Alfa Romeo 147's that were campaigned by the company in 2007 and 2008 and the brand's heritage has been maintained right up until today by enthusiastic classic car racers.
With the support of ADF Motorsport, the FGA technical team has built the race car in record-breaking time to ensure it is fully race-ready for its debut appearance at the first event in Port Shepstone on the 11th April.
Alfa Romeo GT 3.2l V6 racing car
The Alfa Romeo GT has been raced successfully in endurance racing internationally and will form the basis for the local race car.
The use of a motorsport ECU manages the engine allowing the engineers to extract maximum performance whilst monitoring engine and driver statistics. Certain aspects can be controlled, such as fuel flow rates, air mixtures, engine timing and altitude compensation by adapting data acquired from the engine. This data is then manipulated via Motec software and fed back into the ECU to control engine performance as required.
A performance engineered exhaust is also fitted to the car; whilst adding to the sound of the race car this also contributes to the performance gains from the engine.
The transmission, clutch and differential all enjoy motorsport enhancements allowing the technicians to increase power without sacrificing reliability. The updated differential also helps direct the extra power to the front wheels by increasing traction.
Updated brakes include bigger calipers and disks as well as improved brake pad friction material adding to the stopping power whilst allowing for longer runs under extreme conditions.
These increases in performance come with challenges, more power, more friction and more mechanical grip generates more heat. Extra cooling air is directed via ducting to the engine and transmission lubricants and to the brakes ensuring that the race car can sustain longer periods in a controlled environment.
Furthermore, the aerodynamic downforce is improved by including aero aids in the form of splitters and a rear wing, generating extra downforce allowing the car brake later and carry higher cornering speeds.
The Alfa Romeo GT is fitted with a 6-point safety cell that is integral to the safety of the occupants. This allows the technicians to control the suspension dynamics by setting up a perfect balance using weight distribution and the many adjustments in the race-bred suspension. This rigid structure stops any flex in the chassis allowing the shock absorbers to do all the work.
The car is also fitted with FIA approved race seats; the driver's seat includes head protection in case of side impact.
A safety window net on the driver's door is utilised to ensure the drivers limbs stay within the vehicle in the event of roll-over.
Fire is a threat in motorsport, however safety is imperative and the engineers take every precaution for driver safety by including a fire extinguisher.
Teams & Drivers
The Alfa Romeo GT will be driven by Theo van Vuuren, John McLachlan, Martin Botha and Bradley Scorer.
All drivers are required to hold an MSA Regional circuit license and a minimum of 2 drivers must drive the car during the race for the entry in events exceeding 90 minutes.
The team consists of Team Manager, drivers, technicians and lap scorers.
Africa Endurance Series
The Endurance race platform is set on a multi-class championship open to the prototype and GT machinery both locally and from abroad.
|Dezzi Raceway||Port Shepstone||1 hour||11th April 2015|
|Kyalami||Johannesburg||1.5 hour||9th May 2015|
|Killarney||Cape Town||3 hour||16th May 2015|
|Phakisa||Welkom||1.5 hour||4th July 2015|
|Kyalami||Johannesburg||9 hour||21st November 2015|