Fear that the new Alfa Romeo 155 would be seen as some type of Fiat clone based on the Tempra running gear instead of living up the proud Alfa Romeo name, was the main reason to Alfa Romeo (FIAT) to develop the Alfa Romeo 155 touring car.
And thus the next project to Alfa Corse was born, following the Alfa Romeo 164 Procar (SE046) and the Alfa Romeo Sport Prototipo (SE048).
In 1991 the first secret test in the open took place at Lancia, which at that time formed one company with Alfa Romeo within the FIAT group. The red, some with silver taped test car had a Lancia grille, white O-Z Racing wheels from the Lancia Delta HF integrale, a Turin car registration from Abarth and a prominent rear wing above the rear window, similar to that of the Ford Escort and Sierra Cosworth rally cars. Clearly recognizable were the side screens and the splitter from the 155 GTA. A right outside mirror was missing.
Next test runs at Mugello with Giorgio Francia behind the steering wheel showed the following changes:
Small ellipse-shaped left outside mirror, as seen on some press photos from March 1992;
Alfa Romeo 155 grille which constituted a whole heart (see picture), but without the Alfa Romeo logo;
The car was still in the same way with silver taped.
In addition, several wind tunnel aerodynamic tests were carried out towards the first goal: the CIVT'92 (the Italian touring car championship).
For the CIVT'92 two teams would each bring two cars to the start:
While the Alfa Romeo 155 GTA touring car was prepared for its first battle, project SE053 to develop a street version of it had started. On the 15th of February 1992 the presentation of this version was simulated when a red prototype "Stradale" posed next to a red 155 Q4 street version (on Alfa Romeo wheels 6Jx15 60540755). Unfortunately the development was cancelled, making the car a one off. Read more ...
21-22 March, 1992. Finally, the maiden race of the Alfa Romeo 155 GTA would take place at the racing track of Monza. Read more ...
Ed adesso ... DTM'93! And now ... DTM'93!
Alfa Corse ogled for another challenge: the German touring car championship ("DTM"). "The most important championship after F1", according to Alfa Corse team boss Giorgio Pianta. In addition, 1993 would see the introduction of a new 2.5 liter engine class for touring cars, called FIA Division 1 ("D1"), allowing the use of ABS, carbon fiber chassis, electronic driver aids and four-wheel drive. Read m ore ...
4 April, 1992. While the 155 GTA was on its way to its second race of the CIVT'92, a first, brass coloured model at scale of the body of the 155 V6 TI was being fotographed. Compared with the final version of the 155 GTA various differences could be observed:
The front bumper and splitter of the 155 GTA were fully integrated into one component with one large and two small air intakes. The front of the 155 V6 TI seemed to consist of two parts: (1) the front bumper of the 155 Q4 including the two air inlets, but these were lower in height than those of the Q4 or GTA, apparently attached to (2) a massive looking front spoiler including a flat looking splitter underneath with two equally large air inlets. The bumper/splitter combination had two horizontal air inlets on each side;
The front and rear wings of the 155 GTA were wider compared to those of the street version. The wings of the 155 V6 TI had extensions placed on top of the wheel arches;
The side skirts of the 155 GTA were truly horizontal; those of the 155 V6 TI looked to be mounted vertically.
A completely red scale model with black windows was used for initial wind tunnel tests. Other differences with the model mentioned above were the addition of:
Black wheels with silver coloured tyres;
Two outside mirrors, as seen on some press photos of the 155 GTA from March 1992;
Two vertical air inlets on each side of the bumper/splitter combination;
A black rear boot spoiler fitted on two centrally placed feet;
A black rear splitter.
Also the rear boot spoiler did not have an extra support between the horizontal parts like the one of the 155 GTA had.
Furthermore a light blue/grey coloured model at real scale was created. The car had light blue/grey coloured 6-spoke wheels, transparant windows, silver door handles, the deep grille from the 155 Q4 with the Alfa Romeo logo on it and headlights from the street version.
In the meantime Giuseppe d'Agostino and his team had started with the development of the engine.
Taking advantage of the adaptation possibilities granted by the generous D1 category regulation, the standard production 155 was drastically revised. The compact 60° V6 dry sump light alloy engine with a capacity of 2498 cc (93 x 61.3) and cylinder head with four valves per cylinder (intake in titanium), was able to develop 420 HP at 11,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 30 kgm at 9,000 rpm with a weight of just 110 kg. On the 155, it was arranged longitudinally overhanging the front axle, supported by a sub-frame.
The six-speed gearbox was connected to the power unit by a magnesium casting, which also incorporated the oil reservoir (8 litre) and the front differential. The transmission was four-wheel-drive with epicyclic transfer box, viscous coupling and self-locking sliding front and rear differentials. Drive torque distribution was 33% to the front and 67% to the rear.
The vehicle body measured 4,576 mm in length, 1,750 mm in width and 1,410 mm in height with a weight of 1,040 Kg and weight balancing of 50% over both axles. The body was made out of carbon fibre and the frame was strengthened by a cage-type roll-bar. As on the 155 GTA, the suspension configuration was a McPherson on all four wheels, with elliptical cross-section tubular lower wishbones and trailing arms on the rear end for adjusting toe-in with stabiliser bars adjustable by the driver.
From the second race, the 19’’ wheels were abandoned in favour of 18’’ wheels that were better suited to the numerous town routes. The injection system was also improved during the racing season, being fitted with two injectors per can, and a new sequential gearbox was adopted.
* to be continued *
"The quantity of the electronics of the Alfa 155 touring cars is similar to that of the street version, but the qualitative difference is so big that the 155 V6 TI seems like a car going to the moon", Enrico Alviano said.
* to be continued *
Giorgio Pianta: "in Germania andiamo per vincere con Larini e Nannini ...")
1. Limone, S, Club Alfa Sport: Le Alfa 155 di competzione; 13 December, 2009.
2. Registro storico Alfa 155 Superturismo: Storia dell'Alfa 155; 2009.
3. Alfisti.com: Races, DTM - ITC; 2010.
4. Alviano, E, Corriere della Sera, Archivio: L' elettronica delle Alfa da strada arrivera' dalle esperienze su pista; 15 February, 1996