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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fiat Wins Drivers' Championship in B-Spec

2012 Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

The dust has settled on the inaugural Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-spec racing series and Fiat 500 driver Jonathan Start has taken home the series drivers' championship crown.

The final three races of the series were run this past weekend and Jonathan Start, driving the his No. 00 Fiat 500 clinched the title with 2 fourth place and 1 fifth place wins. Start, who is in his rookie year, won the series by his consistent high place finishes throughout the year.

The Touring Car B class, or the B-spec racing series as it is commonly called, was created to give racing enthusiasts an affordable way to get into racing. The series features sub-compact cars such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Mazda2, and Nissan Versa.

Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

Modifications for racing in the series are limited to shocks, springs and the required safety equipment.

As a testament to the engineering of the Fiat 500 and Start's driving ability, remember the 101 HP Fiat 500 consistently placed ahead of: the 138 HP Chevrolet Sonic, the 120 HP Ford Fiesta, 117 HP Honda Fit, 138 HP Kia Rio, and 122 HP Nissan Versa.

2012 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B manufacturers' points standings
1 Honda(TCB) 67
2 Fiat(TCB) 44
3 Ford(TCB) 36
4 Kia(TCB) 33
5 Mazda(TCB) 28

 2013Fiat 500 Turbo
Does the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo hold the key to next year's Championship?

The Fiat 500 placed second in B-spec manufacturers' points standings. The big question for next year is will the new 130 HP 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo make it into the series? Another 29 HP will even out the horsepower race and, combined with the capable Fiat 500 chassis, should make it the car to beat. As always, keep your fingers crossed!

Read the full press release on Jonathan Start's championship win below:

Fiat 500 Driver Jonathan Start Claims Inaugural Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-Spec Championship

Auburn Hills, Mich. , Aug 27, 2012 - Fiat driver Jonathan Start is the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-spec series champion, wrapping up the title in his No. 00 Fiat 500 at the season finale at Sonoma Raceway this past weekend.

Start finished fifth in Sunday’s 40-minute timed event after posting two fourth-place finishes in Saturday’s back-to-back, 25-minute race to clinch the title at the 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course.

“Congratulations to Jonathan and his team for capturing the inaugural World Challenge Touring Car B-spec series championship,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of the FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re proud to see that their hard work paid off and that the solid engineering behind our Cinquecento is not only able to successfully compete in Europe, but also to win titles in America.”

Start was excited with his championship win, but it didn’t come easy.

“We kept our Fiat 500 clean and did what we needed to do to claim the championship,” Start said. “With all the tight turns, elevation changes and slow corners here at Sonoma, it was another learning experience for us. We gained a lot of knowledge this weekend that we’ll carry on to next year.”

In April, Start got the inaugural season of Touring Car B-spec competition off to a fast start by posting back-to-back wins at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and followed up with a fourth the next day. The series traveled across the border in June to Canada (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, formerly Mosport) for the second event weekend where Start posted three third-place finishes.

“We started the season strong,” said the rookie Michigan native. “The Fiat 500 was ready to race. Getting those wins and that fast start carried us through the whole year. Sonoma didn’t go exactly as we had planned but it was a strong points weekend. It was the same throughout the year, we were consistent.”

Modifications for racing in the series are limited to shocks, springs and the required safety equipment.

“It’s been a great first year for the Fiat program,” said SRT Road Racing Manager Gary Johnson. “Jonathan deserves a lot of credit for bringing home the championship. His fast start with two wins in the season opener and three third-place finishes at Mosport were critical. Jonathan drove smart all year and focused on the title rather than individual race wins. It takes a real professional to look long term, race clean and finish every race.”

Pirelli World Challenge Series
Touring Car B-Spec Final Standings
(After 9 of 9 rounds)

2. Craig Capaldi 651
3. Russell Smith 515
4. Andre Rapone 480
5. Sage Marie 335
6. Brandon Miller 329
7. Jim Kenzie 314
8. Conner Ford 190
9. Peter Schwartzott Jr. 262
10. Shaun Bailey 252
Chrysler Media Press Release

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