New brand confirmed for TCR Australia and Michael Clemente
Privateer Michael Clemente will be part of a world-first debut of a brand-new TCR Series model.
After racing a Honda and an Audi most recently in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, Clemente will enter a newly developed Fiat 500 Abarth for the rest of the season, starting at Phillip Island in May.
Clemente’s roots with the Fiat brand run deep as his first road car was a 500 and he currently drives an Abarth version daily.
The idea came following a few beers and laughs as Clemente’s team has constructed the first of what will be 10 500s as per the global TCR homologation requirements.
“My first car was a Fiat 500 and I’ve been driving one for quite a few years now,” Clemente said.
“I’ve always thought it had a magnificent chassis and when we started the search for a new car, I said to the team ‘I’ve got this little Fiat 500 that I have as a daily, it handles bloody brilliantly, why don’t we race one of these?’
“After many laughs and a few beers it’s happening, so I can’t wait for it. It should be something awesome.”
Technically, the 500 Abarth TCR will be similar to the already proven Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR package, which has won multiple races in Supercheap Auto TCR Australia competition the last being at Sandown in the hands of Michael Caruso last year.
‘Bambino’ as it was originally nicknamed when the first version was launched in 1957 became a popular nameplate across the world. A modern interpretation was revealed by Fiat in 2007 and has replicated the original’s sales success.
Fiat is already represented in TCR Italy by the Tecnodom Sport built Tipo, with the Clemente produced 500 joining an illustrious number of models to be homologated for the formula.
This will be the second TCR model to be developed in Australia following Garry Rogers Motorsport being announced as the constructor of the new Peugeot 308 TCR.
Clemente enters this new venture courtesy of major support from Carl Cox Motorsport and Ryco.
The next round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will be as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries at Phillip Island on May 12-14.