Following a successful 2018 season in the FIA R-GT class, the Abarth 124 Rally has received a number of updates for 2019.
Using the experience gained during two racing seasons and more than 5,000 km (3,106 miles) of additional testing, the rally car based on the Abarth 124 Spider has undergone a significant overhaul.
According to Abarth, the changes improve the car’s performance and handling and at the same time make it even easier to fine-tune than before. Updates were made to the main mechanical components as well as the engine electronics, gearbox, differential, and chassis setup.
Kicking off with the engine, the 1.8-liter turbo-four gasoline unit now offers a more linear torque curve. There’s more torque available at all rpms, particularly when power from low speeds is needed — for example, when coming out of hairpin bends at a low rpm. As a result, the throttle response is both smoother and more instant. Abarth says this makes driving more effective and simpler, “allowing non-professional drivers to perform at their best.”
Engineers also made some changes to the six-speed sequential gearbox to improve shifting speed and maneuverability. More specifically, the pneumatic actuator was adjusted “to allow faster gear engagement in acceleration and more calibrated, smoother downshifting to prevent rear axle locking.” Of course, drivers will still be able to lock the rear wheels at will using the hand brake.
Moving on, the Abarth 124 Rally’s differential received a new locking calibration and four mappings (High/Medium/Low Grip, Wet) for the Traction Control System. The settings adjust engine torque delivery to maximize it according to grip conditions and can be selected from the steering wheel.
As for the chassis setup, Abarth says it worked on all components to improve the grip on tarmac. The anti-dive effect was also revised, resulting in a positive pitching effect while braking. This provides a better feeling to the driver and facilitates progressive braking while improving cornering.
Finally, Abarth also introduced a kit for use on gravel roads. It includes a 40 mm (1.57 in) higher ground clearance, increased suspension travel, and 15-inch alloys (instead of 18-inch wheels used on tarmac) with compatible brake discs..