Tecnodom Sport has officially unveiled the Fiat Tipo TCR, which is set to bring the Fiat brand name onto “TCR” grid for the first time after completing a year-long project that was originally started in 2017 by MRT by Nocentini.
The Alfa Romeo brand name already has a homologated car in TCR, Giulietta. The TCR category, which is growing in popularity, now boasts a plethora of global automotive brand names including Honda, SEAT, Hyundai, Opel, Peugeot, Audi, Volkswagen, Kia, Lada and Renault – with a mix of the cars built by in-house manufacturers or by specialist outfits that have won the rights from the global promoter to develop, build and sell a specific model.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR is built by Romeo Ferraris and this year is racing in the FIA World Touring Car Cup as well as in TCR Italy, the latter where it is enjoying winning success.
Now comes the Fiat Tipo. And, so far, motorsport application has virtually passed by the low-cost focused C-segment sedan. The Centro Stile Fiat-designed Tipo is assembled at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ joint venture factory at Bursa in Turkey and comes in hatchback, sedan and station wagon formats and is sold across Europe.
Tecnodom Sport has chosen the “3 box” sedan shape for TCR homologation due to the improved aerodynamics is offers over the hatchback version.
The Italian team has already proved its competence in building, developing and running touring cars having clinched TCR Italy’s “1.4-litre” class championship with an Alfa Romeo Mito in 2016 and then winning three races of TCR Italy overall last year with an Opel Astra TCR.
The Tipo TCR has now been completed by Tecnodom and most interestingly, it’s been under the technical lead of engineer Roberto Zampieri, Abarth’s chief test driver, which gives the project something of an official “connection”. The car is powered by the same Alfa Romeo “1750 TBi” (1742cc, 4-cyl) engine as used in the Romeo Ferraris-built Giulietta TCR and is fitted with a Sadev sequential gearbox.
Visually, the new Tipo TCR follows a very standard aerodynamic format for this category of racecars and has much bigger and wider wheel arches with brake cooling vents in the rear sections to accommodate the car's larger wheels and extended track. Joining up the arches are horizontal skirts.
At the front of the car there is a deep diffuser and a bulbous new lower spoiler which has several cut out sections to improve the air coming into the engine's big radiator while the composite bonnet is dominated by a series of slats that maximise the exit airflow.
The rear bumper section meanwhile has been chopped away, there is a single exhaust tailpipe exiting in the middle of the rear and there is a large rear "racing wing" to meet allowable TCR size dimensions. The launch car is finished in the team's traditional orange racing colours while the official production Fiat badging has also been retained.
Abarth, which produces selected high-performance versions of Fiat models, doesn’t presently have a Scorpion-branded version of the Tipo range in its portfolio; current it offers just offers multiple tuned and customised versions of the 500 and 124 Spider.
It’s closely involved with customer rallying this year with the 124 Rally version and on the circuits through its own decade-old single make “Trofeo 500” series as well as an engine supplier to Formula 4 in Italy and Germany while it’s also currently evaluating an “FIA GT4” category racer version of the 124 Spider.
The Tipo TCR project was started last year by the “MRT by Nocentini” team which has a long history in Italian rallying that goes back decades, while this year the team is rallying a Hyundai i20.
MRT by Nocentini also has a circuit racing background, having run a Chrysler 300C in the now defunct Italian “Superstars” touring car series and it’s currently campaigning a NASCAR-style American machine in the “Euro V8” championship.
MRT by Nocentini planned to debut the Tipo TCR project towards the end of last year and later had plans to join this year’s pre-season Balance of Performance (BoP)tests. However, the unfinished project was sold to Veneto-based Tecnodom Sport which is believed to have wanted to run an Italian car in place of the Opel Astra TCR.
Tecnodom Sport has already started the homologation procedure with the TCR Technical Department and aims to start running the Tipo in TCR Italy as soon as the provisional homologation form will be issued. It’s already undergone BoP evaluation.
Kevin Giacon, together with his brother Jonathan, has been testing the Tipo TCR prototype, although it’s unclear which one of the two will drive the car when it officially reaches the racetracks.
The team's first test with the Tipo TCR prototype took place at the Adria Speedway back in April – and they also hope to be able to sell further examples of their exciting new creation, reporting they have already received serious enquiries from around the world and that a build programme is now underway.
“We are very proud of it,” reckons Kevin Giacon. “It is very well built and has a lot of potential. We are currently making tests with different type of tyres, because our plan is to sell the car to teams that race in the different TCR series. We are already building two other cars and have received requests from Turkey and South America.”
Tecnodom Sport’s principal Domiziano Giacon added: “We want to organise an event at Adria and invite the teams to discover and test the Tipo.”
Photos: Tecnodom Sport Fiat Tipo TCR
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