Fiat has released details of the Esseesse and Assetto Corse kits of the new Fiat 500 Abarth, and the creation of a single-make race series dubbed the 500 Abarth Challenge.

500 Abarth Esseesse

The 500 Abarth esseesse kit boosts the 500 Abarth’s 1.4 16v Turbo T-Jet engine to a maximum power of 160 hp 120 KW at 5750 rpm, with peak torque of 170 lb/ft at 3000 rpm in “Sport Mode”. Top speed increases to 131 mph with acceleration from 0-62 mph in just 7.4 seconds.

The “esseesse” kit features perforated and ventilated front brake discs (diameter 284mm x 22mm), perforated rear brake discs (diameter 240mm x 11mm, high-performance front brake pads, lowered springs and Abarth “esseesse” 7″ x 17″ ET35 alloy wheels, finished in white or titanium, with 205/40 ZR 17 Pirelli Pzero tyres.

The 500 Abarth “esseesse” kit is topped off by a replacement high-flow BMC air filter, tyre pressure sensors, “esseesse” badges for the engine cover and tailgate, and a specially designed key cover.

Fiat 500 Abarth Assetto Corse

The 500 Abarth Assetto Corse looks like a true racing car, and features a 1.4-litre engine boosted to 200 bhp,  ultra-light 17″ white racing alloys, lowered suspension, racing mirrors and numbers down the sides.

Available in pastel grey with red Abarth side stripes, the 500 Abarth Assetto Cors” has an aggressive front end complete with Abarth badge, below which are the oversized bumper, aerodynamic spoiler and screen printed grilles, replacing the plastic ones on the standard version. On the engine cover, apart from the traditional hooks, we find the two carbon air intakes complete with scorpion. The rear of the vehicle has a white spoiler, Abarth badge and double exhaust. Last but not least, down the sides is the sword logo which represents the brand’s racing image, and the roof with its red stripe and four white checks, just like the winning Abarth 850TC of the 1960s.

Inside, the 500 Abarth Assetto Corse has a racing-approved roll-bar, hollowed out to make it faster and lighter (the car weighs about 120 kg less than the road going version). The ergonomically-designed seat, special racing steering wheel and carbon door panels make the 500 Abarth Assetto Corse a true racing car – tiny but with a tough character. However, it has something extra: it has been designed to be cheap to run. Abarth has once again made racing affordable by promoting a “democratic” approach to the sport, demonstrated by the single-make 500 Abarth Challenge Trophy.

500 Abarth Challenge

In the best Scorpion tradition, in 2009 Abarth will be organising a single-make trophy featuring the 500 Abarth Assetto Corse: the car will be produced directly by Abarth and will be sold to drivers “race-ready”, through the dealer network.

The Italian round of the Trophy will be held together with the prestigious Ferrari Challenge: free qualifying, official qualifying and two races each of 30 minutes, the tried and tested weekend racing formula. Meanwhile, abroad, drivers can choose from the trophy competitions in several countries (Portugal, Spain, Germany and Great Britain have already been confirmed), or an international challenge to be held in conjunction with the World Touring Car Championship, according to the same technical and racing regulations as the Italian trophy.

The participants will test each other’s skills on the most famous circuits of Europe: Monza, Vallelunga, Brno, Paul Ricard, Imola and Mugello for the series paired with the Ferrari Challenge; Valencia, Porto, Brands Hatch, Brno, Oschersleben and Monza for the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) series.

At the end of the season, the winners of the national and European series will meet in a grand finale.

The technical characteristics of the car, and the racing formula, have been specifically designed in order to make participation in the trophy extremely affordable.