Alfa Romeo’s F1 drivers have unleashed the brand's Giulia GTA and GTAm as part of their final development, hinting the 'roided four-door sedan is nearing sign off.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi dropped into the brand's Ballaco proving ground in Italy to shake down aerodynamic, handling and chassis setups around circuit and exploiting the car’s new adjustable wing setup.
Cameras were on hand to capture the action for marketing synergies, revealing that while Kimi Raikkonen is vastly more experienced with this sort of thing – in race or road cars – it’s Giovinazzi who, unsurprisingly, offers more enthusiastic feedback.
At one point Giovinazzi exclaims to engineers, “braking … it’s amazing!” While Raikkonen makes an effort to look enthused about the super sedans for his employer, his trademark monosyllabism returns once he’s in the seat.
All he offers to engineers when they ask for how the Giulia GTA/GTAm handles fast corners is: “yes, it’s ok.”
While these comments are largely irrelevant without knowing the full testing program, the video offers nice shots of the GTA and GTAm sideways or on a hoist, and confusingly in camouflage.
We can at least bank an engineer's comment on the tyres, saying they will be new street-legal Michelins and move away from Pirellis fitted to the regular QV.
But with FCA Australia repeating to us it's still evaluating the GTA for the local market without offering much else in the way of hope, is this news just academic on something destined only for Europe?
Alfa Romeo UK's confirmation the Giulia GTA will be offered in right-hand drive promises its destiny might include Australia.
Local Alfisti would respond well to what Alfa Romeo calls a gift to loyal enthusiasts for its 110th birthday.
The faster, fitter Giulia QV honours the spirit of the original track-terrorising Giulia Sprint GTA and GTAm from the 60s and 70s.
There will be two variants, the ‘regular’ GTA and a more unhinged GTAm, but they’ll both share an underlying mechanical package based on the QV that welcomes an extensive list of performance modifications.
While a modest power bump for its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 is good news, taking power from 375kW to 397kW (there’s no mention of torque), headlining the changes is a 100kg diet achieved through an exhaustive list of lightweight parts. After all, the A in its name means “Alleggerita”, which is Italian for ‘lightweight’.
The Giulia QV already has a carbon fibre bonnet, roof, seat shells, drive shaft and rear spoiler but the GTA relies on the material for the front bumper, redesigned diffuser, front wheel arches and rear wheel “arch inserts”, which we assume are what help achieve the car’s wider stance.
Alfa Romeo’s engineers have pushed out the front and rear tracks 50mm for flatter handling and added noticeable arch flares, while retuned springs, bushings and dampers complement the added width. They’ve also upped the wheel size from 19 to 20-inches and switched them to a centre lock design. And, as a side note, the front arches bear an 'Autodelta' sticker in a nod to the original cars' previous racing histories.
The press release reiterates the engine uses aluminium, as well as the doors and suspension systems, but adds that “composite materials are used throughout”. It says, for instance, the GTA and GTAm use Lexan side and rear window frames.
Leather’s been largely ditched for alcantara in the cabin. And this is where the GTAm differentiates itself. In place of rear seats is an alcantara bench said to hold helmets and a fire-extinguisher. It also features a rear-roll bar, no door panels and belts for interior door handles.
New matte carbon inserts give the GTAm “distinctive technical and aesthetic elegance”. It scores a larger rear wing, as well, to balance out its larger front splitter. Meanwhile the side sills on both cars are optimised to suit their new aerodynamic packages.
Capping off the modifications is the Akrapovic exhaust that should unleash a wicked noise from the twin-turbo V6. Its tips are modelled in the rear of the diffuser. After everything, the GTA is claimed to weigh 1520kg and to hit 100km/h from rest in 3.6sec with launch control.
To get buyers in the mood for what the car is designed to do, attack circuits, Alfa Romeo will throw in a specialised race kit, with gloves, helmet, gloves and boots, and a customised Alfa Romeo driving course. You’ll get a car cover as well.
*This article previously stated the car included a free driving course. It has been updated with new information clarifying it is a 'specific' driving course for GTA and GTAm customers.
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