On Monday, 21st January 2008, Felipe Massa was presented with a Fiat 500 in Monaco powered by an exclusive 1.4 litre, 120 bhp (approx 89kW) engine and personalised with unique graphic details, such as his signature embossed in the sill scuff plate. With “Pearl White” paintwork and interior trim in brown Cordura, the supermini given to the Scuderia Ferrari driver is, of course, the Sport variant, with a Skydome electric sunroof, 16″ diamond alloy finish and red brake callipers.
What really sets the car apart, however, is its lusty 1.4 16v engine with a power output raised to 120 bhp or 89kW by Fiat Powertrain Racing, the FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies) division responsible for the design, research, development and production of engines for competition use, performance kits for petrol and diesel units and, lastly, special engines for limited edition models.
The standard 1.4 16v version, which will form the mainstay of the South African model line-up pushes out 73,5kW.
So a distinctly sporty Fiat 500 for the charming, talented Brazilian driver who picked up six pole positions and three wins last season, finishing in fourth place and contributing significantly to Ferrari’s Constructors’ title and to team mate Kimi Räikkönen’s World Drivers’ Championship victory.
This major sporting achievement is reflected perfectly in a car that has garnered numerous prestigious international accolades, such as “Car of the Year 2008”, “EuroCarBody 2007” and “Auto Europa 2008”.
This is why the Brazilian driver and the Fiat 500 are so well matched, as the sporting and personal attributes of Felipe Massa are echoed in the character of the Fiat 500: a car that is lovable and unconventional, yet innovative and successful.
The Fiat 500 will make its first ‘pit stop’ in South Africa in July. Details concerning the line-up will be disclosed in one month’s time.