The Abarth 124 R-GT rally car has been filmed in testing ahead of its competition debut at the start of the 2017 season, and it looks like a bundle of fun.
The car was unveiled alongside the road-going Abarth 124 Spider at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Where the road car has a 170 horsepower (127 kilowatts) version of the 1.4-liter, turbocharged engine found in its Fiat-badged sibling, the 124 R-GT has a 1.8-liter turbo motor making a very healthy 300 hp (224 kW).
Abarth did not specify how much the car weighs when it was unveiled, however the R-GT rulebook stipulates a power to weight ratio of 3.4 kilograms (7.5 pounds) per horsepower (4.6 kg/kW). Do the math, and the 124 weighs in at 1020 kg (2250 lbs). That’s some 40 kg (90 lbs) lighter than the road car.
Power goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox. The car also has a full rollcage, four-way adjustable dampers, and OZ wheels.
There’s no way of knowing how far advanced the testing and development process is, but on the basis of this footage, filmed by Youtuber Luca Rally, the 124 R-GT looks extremely promising. Performance seems strong, with a pleasingly angry soundtrack following behind. And the handling looks to be beautifully balanced, tracking straight and true round corners, but with oversteer on demand if the driver needs - or wants - it. In other words, it looks like a whole lot of fun to drive.
While R-GT cars are technically eligible for the World Rally Championship, they rarely take part - last year's R-GT Cup proved to be a one-year-only deal. They are, however, very popular in national and regional championships across Europe. There, the 124 R-GT will find itself competing competing against Nissan 370Zs, assorted BMWs and legions of Porsche 911s. That's powerful competition, but the 124's considerably lighter weight should give it a fighting chance.
Incidentally, R-GT cars are not homologated; instead, cars that meet the regulations are issued with a "technical passport" by the FIA or an affiliated governing body.
The Abarth 124 R-GT will go in sale in time for the 2017 rallying season, at a cost of around €150,000 ($168,000).