The Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo is no strangers to the world of motorsport. Alfa started racing almost as soon as the company was founded seemingly never having heard the phrase about learning to walk before you run, Alfa Romeo have been running at full speed since day one. With over a hundred years of motor racing experience under their belts, team Alfa Romeo have managed to build on that heritage when it came to creating their newest super car, the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Super cars are not a new adventure for Alfa with their first true super car being the Alfa Romeo 6C which they produced between 1925 and 1954 (see one in all its beauty here at the 2014 Concorso Villa S’Este). The cars back then weren’t quite of the spec we are used to these days. No self-respecting petrol head would be happy with a top speed of 68 mph as the original Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 had, which is why the new Alfa Romeo 4C can reach the top speed of its predecessor in about 4.3 seconds and go on to reach 160mph.
The 4C has proven its racing pedigree beyond doubt at the famous Nuremberg racetrack, which has always been used to put cars through their paces and show the world what they’re capable of. The 4C broke the speed record for all production cars powered by an engine under 250 HP completing the lap in eight minutes and four seconds.
Although Alfa Romeo haven’t been in top flight Formula One racing since the late 80s, in many ways their ties to the world of touring car racing benefited the development and design of the cars for the normal road user more than the ultra high-tech Formula One development. Most people wouldn’t consider buying a car without power steering in this day and age, but the team at Alfa know that if you really want to feel connected with the road and get feedback on your traction through the steering wheel, power steering is the last thing you need! Ditching the power steering also saves on weight, which is why the European model of the Alfa Romeo 4C weighs in at under 900 kg.
The weight savings are no doubt thanks to the development of composite materials which have been used on the track. Another race car feature that has made its way to the road is the carbon fibre tub chassis which we’ve become used to seeing and hearing about at the Grand Prix.
Although the racing future of the Alfa Romeo 4C is as yet uncertain, the chances are it will follow in the footsteps of almost every production Alfa Romeo made, and make its way to the track. Alfa Romeo have had an impressive history when it comes to touring car racing, with 17 European Touring Car Championships and a host of other national touring car Championships. Since the late 90s, the Germans have dominated racing but perhaps the new Alfa Romeo 4C can make amends and start to take some titles back to Milan.