According to a new report from Pistonheads, Fiat is planning to roll out a high-performance, hardtop Abarth version of the recently released 124 Spider for 2017. That’s hardly a surprise, but in a more shocking turn of events, the publication is also reporting the automaker will go rallying in the World Rally Championship with the hot two-seater.
No – the 124 Abarth won’t enter the full-fledged WRC series currently dominated by the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Polo R WRC, but rather an all new FIA-sanctioned rally series. The series will be aimed at sportscars and is intended to “restore some petrolhead credibility,” to the WRC – which is currently dominated by purpose built hatchbacks branded as pedestrian grocery getters like the Hyundai i20.
The road-going Abarth will sport a more aggressive front fascia and an optional matte-black hood as a nod to the original 124 Stradale homologation rally car of the 1970s – which will be hiding a beefed up version of the standard car’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. We’re expecting much of the same tweaks for the rally car, but it’s impossible to say what could be in store without knowing the yet-be-named series’ rules and regulations.
Fiat was last associated with the world of rallying in the 1980s when it raced the iconic 131 Abarth in the WRC to a great degree of success. Its return to the sport has long been rumored, and with this seemingly credible report now coming to light, we could actually see the almost too good to be true plans come to fruition.