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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fiat 500 Leads Touring Car Championship

Fiat 500 B Spec Racer

True to its Italian heritage of building sporty cars, Fiat is the leader in the Touring Car-B Manufacturers' Championship. A Fiat 500 driven by Jonathan Start won the inaugural Touring Car -B Spec race last weekend. In fact, Start, in his No. 00 Fiat USA/SRT/Carbotech Fiat 500, won the first two races of the three races held that weekend.

The recently created B-spec racing series is an affordable way to race late model cars. The series features sub-compact cars, such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Mazda2, and Nissan Versa. Its double win means that Fiat is leading the the Championship with 22 points, followed by a tie between Mazda and Ford with 16. Honda has 15 points, while Kia has scored 3.

Fiat 500 B-Spec Racing Car
On the racetrack the 101 HP Fiat 500 beat; the 138 HP Chevrolet Sonic, the 120 HP Ford Fiesta, 117 HP Honda Fit, 138 HP Kia Rio, and 122 HP Nissan Versa. Remember this when someone says the Fiat 500 is slow!

Now that the Fiat 500 has proven to everyone that it is a serious contender in the series, we can hope to see more Fiat 500s racing around.  Fiat has contingency programs for would be Fiat racers. You can check them out here:

Fiat 500 Touring Car B-Spec

Here is the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-Spec Schedule of Events
  • April 27–29, Miller Motorsports Park (co-headliner, NASCAR West). Tooele, Utah (Rounds 1, 2 and 3 for Touring Car B-Spec).
  • June 1–3, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, (with IndyCar). Detroit, Mich. (Rounds 4, 5 and 6 Touring Car B-Spec).
  • June 22–24, Mosport International Raceway (Pirelli World Challenge Headliner).
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
 (Rounds 7, 8 and 9 Touring Car B-Spec).

Read more about Fiat's impressive start of the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Championship Series below:

Fiat 500 World Challenge Touring Car

Fiat 500 B-Spec Leads World Challenge Touring Car-B Standings After Inaugural Race Weekend
  • Jonathan Start wins first two of three races at Miller Motorsports Park
  • Start leads the Touring Car-B class after opening weekend

Tooele, Utah , Apr 30, 2012 - In the first ever Touring Car-B class races in the Pirelli World Challenge, Jonathan Start, of Caledonia, Mich., drove his specially-prepared Fiat 500 to two consecutive Touring Car-B race wins on Saturday, April 28 at the 2.2-mile Miller Motorsports Park West Course configuration.
Saturday’s event uniquely featured two 30-minute races separated by just 10-minutes.

Start completed the inaugural race weekend with a fourth place finish in race No. 3 on Sunday, April 29, just missing the podium after a race-long duel at the front of the pack.

“What a spectacular way to start the inaugural racing season with our brand new Fiat 500 B-spec car,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re proud of how well the team engineered the car and what a fantastic job Jonathan did behind the wheel.”

Start’s sweep on Saturday plus his fourth-place finish on Sunday gives him the points advantage early in the nine-round drivers’ championship with a 54 point lead over Honda driver Sage Marie (389-335) and 62 point lead over Ford driver Craig Capaldi. Fiat also holds the manufacturers' championship lead with 22 points, followed by a tie between Mazda and Ford with 16. Honda has 15 points, while Kia has scored 3.

Fiat USA/SRT/Carbotech Fiat 500

Race No. 1 Summary - Saturday, April 28
In an exciting debut race for the new series, Start, in his No. 00 Fiat USA/SRT/Carbotech Fiat 500, battled with the top competitors from Ford and Mazda before taking the lead late in the 17-lap race and going on to finish out in front by 2.171 seconds.

“Race number one was exactly what this new B-Spec should be,” Start said. “Close, tight, and very similar cars all competing hard. I had the race of my life in the fun category. We were able to flip and flop, and we raced each other clean. This is what World Challenge is all about.”

Race No. 2 Summary - Saturday, April 28
With the race No. 2 grid being based on finishing order from race No. 1, Start took off from pole position at the green flag and led every lap to the finish, taking a 1.392-second victory to sweep the doubleheader.

“I raced smart, and I think that’s what it was,” Start said. “I wanted to be smooth, I wanted to be consistent, and I wanted to take care of my tires in the first race and I think I did. I watched the other guys and there were some moves where I was like, you guys are nuts. You guys are going to scrub your tires.

“At the end of the day, it’s two wins in the first round of World Challenge TCB, and I’m happy.”
Capaldi’s Ford and Bailey’s Mazda battled for the second position for most of the race, joined early on by the No. 45 Honda Fit of Sage Marie. Bailey finished second with Capaldi taking the third spot at the checkered flag.

Race No. 3 Summary - Sunday, April 29
Race 3
Jonathan Start began the finale race of the opening weekend in third spot in class and quickly became part of a four-car scrum made up of Start’s Fiat, a Honda Fit and two Ford Fiestas. The battle raged for much of the early part of the race, with Marie's No. 45 Honda Fit trading the lead with Capaldi's No. 86 Ford Fiesta every other lap for the first four.

Start drove hard in his No. 00 Fiat USA/SRT/Carbotech Fiat 500 as the second through fourth place cars battled for second spot. All the fighting for second place allowed Marie to steadily pull away, driving off to a 3.354-second margin of victory.
Conner Ford finished second in class, with Capaldi third and Start came home in fourth.

Press Release: Chrysler Media

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