28 September 2011

Alfa Romeo is Joint Presenting Sponsor of “Eco Targa Florio”

"Eco Targa Florio" will take place from 29 September to 2 October. This original event consists of four international exhibitions - a forum and three competitions - paying tribute to the prestigious car race for the first time contended in1906 and disputed up until today in a total of 95 editions of World, European and Italian championships with the various speed, reliability trial and rally formulas.

As Joint Presenting Sponsor, Alfa Romeo is taking part in this prestigious sporting event by providing the organisation with a fleet of Giuliettas, a genuine blend of technology with solutions that adapt to the needs of the driver, offer increased safety, and ensure the best combination of performance and fuel consumption with respect for the environment.


Alfa Romeo and respect for the environment

"Eco Targa Florio" brings the theme of sustainable mobility and respect for the environment, a field in which Alfa Romeo has always been a forerunner, under the international spotlights. Every one of its latest generation cars must be able to blend excellent dynamic characteristics, efficient performance and environmental friendliness, maximum comfort and active and passive safety with control in all circumstances.

A concrete example of this design philosophy is the "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch automatic transmission - available on the MiTo and Giulietta models - that ensures greater driving comfort and a sportier feeling than the automatic transmissions with torque converter, but with lower running costs.

The Giulietta TCT with 170 HP 1.4 TB MultiAir engine is the most environmentally friendly and efficient petrol-powered compact on the market, even when compared with manual gearbox versions of competitors with decisively lower power ratings and performance. In particular, this version records a top speed of 218 km/h and just 7.7 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, with extremely low fuel consumption and emissions: 5.2 l/100 km over a combined cycle and 121 g/km of CO2.

Even when fitted with the 170 HP 2.0 JTDM-2 diesel engine, the values of the Giulietta TCT are record-breaking. In fact, compared to the same manual gearbox version, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h changes from 8.0 seconds to 7.9 seconds, fuel consumption (combined cycle) drops from 4.7 l/100 km to 4.5 l/100 km, while CO2 emissions reach the record level for an engine of this class equal to 119 g/km (124 g/km with the manual gearbox).


Five days amidst sports legends and innovative eco-sustainable solutions

Organised by MAC Group together with the non-profit organisation Targa Florio Foundation, in conjunction with ACI Palermo, the five days kick off on 28 September in the charming setting of Villa Malfitano Whitake with the sixth edition of "Eco Mobility International Forum", where representatives of the establishment, entrepreneurship and industry research will discuss eco-sustainable solutions paying particular attention to the product and latest-generation technologies.

Next-generation cars and historic models will face each other in a reliability trial with session time of three days and two nights from 29 September to 1st October. The event will wind along a route that follows the famous Madonie circuit and a tour of Sicily for a total of over 800 kilometres.

In detail, three competitions are open to different car categories: "Eco Targa Florio Green Prix", the race dedicated to alternative energy vehicles and valid for the FIA Alternative Energy Cup International Championship; "Eco Targa Florio Classic", a reliability trial for historic cars where a some of the competing cars use alternative fuels, cutting-edge technical solutions and other eco-sustainable systems; "Ferrari Tribute to Targa Florio", a tribute by the Maranello-based constructor to the historic race, with an authentic reliability challenge that goes ahead of the other two competitions along the Sicilian roads and that will welcome Ferrari cars built from 1948 to the present.

The cars entered and admitted to the Eco Targa Florio are 100 teams coming from 19 countries. In addition to Italy, which is lining up almost 70 entrants between drivers and co-drivers, Germany (16), Great Britain (9), the Netherlands (8), Japan (3), Argentina (2), Ireland (2), Russia (2) and South Africa (2) are represented.

Three drivers who have contributed to the history of Targa Florio and who have become legends will contend as entrants this year: Nino Vaccarella, Antoine Hezemans and Arturo Merzario. Hezemans and Merzario will both race behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo: Hezemans on a 1972 Zagato Junior while Merzario will drive a car from the Scuderia del Portello. It is not by mere chance that they have chosen an Alfa Romeo. It is behind the wheel of a car of this same carmaker that the two drivers won outright first place in the speed race: Hezemans in '71 driving an Alfa Romeo 33/3 Sport Prototype spyder and Merzario in '75 at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 33TT12. In both cases the second driver was Nino Vaccarella.


Alfa Romeo, star of the legendary Targa Florio

Alfa Romeo's sporting history at the Targa Florio is initially linked to the RL, so much so that this model of 1923 took its name, becoming the "RL TF". Although it officially started to compete in 1911, just one year after the foundation of A.L.F.A., one could say that the XIV edition of the Sicilian race initiated the car manufacturer into the glories of motorsports with Ugo Sivocci's legendary win on the 432 kilometres of the Madonìe circuit (4 laps of 108 km each) at an average speed of 59.040 km/h which was amazing for its time, particularly considering the pitfalls and roughness of the course.

Alfa Romeo's success was clear: Sivocci not only prevailed over the most experienced car manufacturers that took to the dusty Sicilian roads to fight a gruelling battle, but he was able to outdo (even if by a small margin) the other drivers of the Alfa Romeo team as well, including Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Ascari and Giulio Ramponi.

The 1923 RL TF was also the first Alfa Romeo car to be adorned with the green, auspicious four-leaf clover that has since then distinguished all Alfa competition cars. The origin of this symbol, famous throughout the world (almost in the same way as the manufacturer's badge), has been lost in legend, but it is interesting to note its correspondence with the flag that during World War I distinguished the aeroplanes of the "10th Caproni Bomber Squadron".

Today the Quadrifoglio is part of the Italian Air Force coat of arms and at the same time remains the imperishable symbol of Alfa Romeo's philosophy, that is of the constant pursuit of excellence applied to competitions and then completely transferred to its production vehicles.

During the 1930s, in Alfa Romeo's most legendary period in racing, the "8C" cars were those that dominated the Sicilian race. The supremacy of the Milanese cars from 1931 to 1935 was constant and the greatest drivers of the day (Nuvolari and Varzi first and foremost) won on the Madonie circuit at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo.

In the 1950s and 1960s, after the "forced respite" of war, the Alfa Romeos, with the "1900", "Giulietta", "TZs" and "33 Sport 2 litres", earned prestigious victories. Outright success arrived in 1971 with the 33/3 driven by Vaccarella and Hezemans who outdistanced the Porsches and the Lolas, bringing the triumph awaited since 1950 back to Milan (first place taken by Bornigia-Bornigia with the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sperimentale).

1975 was the year of the 33 TT 12 that after having won the Constructors' World Championship, secured the 10th victory at the Targa Florio. Merzario and Vaccarella succeeded in their mission.

The ten Alfa Romeo wins at Targa Florio:

1923, Ugo Sivocci (RL TF)
1930, Achille Varzi (P2; record average on distance; it was to remain the best performance on distance, on the Medio Circuito of Madonie of 108.000 km)
1931, Tazio Nuvolari (8C 2300 Monza)
1932, Tazio Nuvolari (8C 2300 Monza)
1933, Antonio Brivio (8C 2300 Monza)
1934, Achille Varzi (P3)
1935, Antonio Brivio (P3)
1950, Mario Bornigia/Franco Bornigia (6C 2500 Sperimentale)
1971, Nino Vaccarella/Toine Hezemans (33/3)
1975, Nino Vaccarella/Arturo Merzario (33 TT 12)

Turin, 28 September 2011

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