The Fiat 500 Abarth is set to make its grand entrance to North American racing early December at the NASA 25 hours of Thunderhill in Willows, CA. Spearheading the charge to drop the brand-new Abarth into one of the longest endurance races in the world is the driver, Anthony Rimicci, amateur racer and part owner of Santo’s Italian car Service, who built the Fiat into the racing machine you see in the pic.
Rimicci said about the 25 Hours in a press release, “One great thing about being Italian is you have a huge family, which means, you have a lot of people you can ask for help. Also, it means we’ll have an espresso machine in our trailer to keep the guys going through the night. The 25 Hour will be a big challenge but we also expect it to be a lot of fun. We can’t think of a better scenario to test the Abarth under race conditions and really push its limits. There are a lot of parts that have been built specifically for the car and we really want to put them to the test to get ready for next season.”
Why is Rimicci making his pro-debut along with the Fiat in such a grueling race? To get ready for the upcoming 2013 Pirelli World Challenge® Championship season. He will be competing in the Touring Car class and his Abarth 500 will be the first one to compete in North America. Anthony will be driving as a true rookie since he has never driven professionally before.
“I’m going pro racing in a Fiat – what could go wrong?” said Rimicci. “We’ve built a brand-new car, a new team, for a series we’ve never done before, on tracks I’ve never driven. While most people look at us like we are crazy, the response we’ve gotten from the car has been pretty incredible. All the ladies say ‘it’s so cute!’ We know we have a big job ahead of us to be competitive in Touring Car but it’s going to be really fun to give it a shot.”
He will get his shot starting in May when the series kicks off for the Touring class at an undetermined location. No, this isn’t Fast and the Furious racing at some closed down military base. The event sponsors organizers just haven’t announced where the scheduled races will be for this leg of the tour. Rimicci will have the Fiat zipping around tracks across the US until October where the Pirelli series has a total of 6 race weekends for the Touring car class.
2013 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Schedule of Events
May TBD, (GT, GTS, Touring Car, Touring Car B-Spec)
June TBD, (TC, TCB)
July TBD, (GT, GTS, TC, TCB)
August 2–4, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (with IndyCar). Lexington, Ohio (GT, GTS, TC, TCB)
August 23–25, Sonoma Raceway (with IndyCar). Sonoma, Calif. (GT, GTS, TC, TCB)
Oct. 4¬–6, Streets of Houston (with IndyCar). Houston, Texas (GT, GTS, TC, TCB)
So if you are near one of the locations, be sure to come support your favorite Italian import!