GTA Takes to the Streets
David Faithful |
13 May 2021 |
The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA brings back one of the legends of motoring and a milestone in the brand’s history: the 1965 Giulia GTA. It sees a return to the roots of the brand established 111 years ago, those of the worlds of performance and touring, with a model that epitomises the unique ability of Alfa Romeo to combine style and sport.
It makes its dynamic debut at the former Autodelta workshops at the Balocco Proving Ground, the site of the 1960s creation of the Giulia Sprint GTA. This evocative venue – built 60 years ago, with a surface area of 6 km2, 27 different circuits, a total of 80 km – is the home of the development and testing of all Alfa Romeo cars.
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The model in brief
The Giulia GTA is instantly recognisable courtesy of an exclusive characterisation that combines form and function in this high-performance vehicle derived from the Giulia Quadrifoglio. With the widespread use of ultralight materials, the weight of the Giulia GTA is reduced and the Alfa Romeo 2.9 V6 bi-turbo engine is upgraded to produce 540hp, giving it a best-in-class weight-to-power ratio of 187 hp per litre. It also delivers extraordinary performance, in terms of both its lap times on the track and its acceleration. With the Launch Mode system, acceleration from zero to 62mph takes just 3.6 seconds.
Alfa Romeo engineers have worked to improve its aerodynamics and handling, but above all to reduce the weight, following the same guidelines as for the 1965 Giulia GTA. To achieve these objectives, widespread use has been made of components in carbon fibre and composite materials. The aerodynamics have been designed to increase downforce. These solutions embody technical expertise that comes straight from Formula 1, courtesy of the synergy with Sauber Engineering. They also developed the side skirts; the new rear spoiler – adjustable to four positions on the GTAm; the active front splitter, which can be extended for use on the track by up to 40mm on the GTAm; the carbon fibre rear diffuser with integrated titanium Akrapovič centrally mounted exhaust system; and the 20-inch wheels with single locking nut, seen for the first time on a saloon, which are paired with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The aerodynamic research in the wind tunnel was not limited to the aerodynamic elements, but also focused on the fully-faired underbody.
The GTA and GTAm also benefit from a new rear diffuser capable of increasing the car’s downforce, guaranteeing excellent road holding at high speeds. On the Giulia GTAm the most intense aerodynamic configuration triples the amount of downforce compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which previously represented the benchmark in its class.
Handling has been improved by widening the front wheel tracks by 25mm, their rear counterparts by 50mm and developing a specific suspension set-up (the front with two oscillating arms, the rear using independent multilink springs). This suspension set-up and steering ensures higher cut-in and cornering speed and improvements in stability, while not impacting on the comfort. Last but not least, in terms of performance, the Alfa Romeo 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine, made entirely of aluminium and capable of unleashing no less than 510hp in the Giulia Quadrifoglio, reaches an output of 540hp in the Giulia GTA, courtesy of the meticulous development and calibration work of the Alfa Romeo engineers who revisited the piston cooling flow and the design of the rods. The air circulation in the engine cooling and transmission circuits has also been increased.
Alfa Romeo is offering a wide range of customisations aimed at offering a unique purchase experience, including an experience package with a Bell helmet in special GTA livery that can be customised with the production number of the car, a specific Goodwool car cover and dedicated services. The GTAm will also come with Alpinestars overalls, gloves and boots. In the UK, the Giulia GTA and GTAm experience is priced at €176,500 and €181,500 respectively.
A unique, functional design that transcends time
One of the features that has always marked out an Alfa Romeo is its unique design which skillfully combines form and function. While the car’s style must correspond to an overarching tenet of beauty and to transcend the passing of time, it must also be functional and enhance the aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency. This maxim is epitomised in the Giulia GTA, where changes to the bodywork and interior magnify the bold spirit of the Quadrifoglio version, on which it is based.
The bodywork features a purposeful front that expresses all the power unleashed by the engine, with larger air intakes and technical elements in carbon fibre. Even the iconic ‘’Trilobo” is enhanced, with slots that edge the badge to optimise cooling, reminiscent of the early days of F1. The active splitter has been redesigned on the GTAm, now even larger and can be adjusted lengthways by 40mm to ensure a perfect balance with the adjustable rear spoiler, with its aerodynamic profile and four-position adjustment (low-high drag) of the central section. On the sides, the carbon fibre side skirts, broadened front wing and the clearly visible carbon fibre on the rear wheel arches accentuate the car’s dimensions, with an image of power and dynamism.
The new 20-inch wheels with single locking nuts have been specially designed to combine style and lightness to ensure the best possible overall handling. A typical solution among F1 single-seaters, it is unique in road-going saloons on the market.
Moving to the interior, the dashboard, door panels, glove compartment, side pillars and the central trim on the seats feature Alcantara® upholstery. This prized material provides the driver with the right grip and reduces the commonly seen reflections from the dashboard and other plastic components. Alcantara® is used even more extensively in the GTAm version, where the rear seats have been removed, leaving room for a fully upholstered ‘basin’, with specific moldings designed to hold race helmets and a fire extinguisher. The new matt carbon-fibre inserts offer the interior with a distinctive technical and aesthetic elegance. The new GTAm features a roll bar, no rear door panels, door pull loops instead of a handle on the front doors and matching six-point SABELT seat belts, another feature typically inspired by the racing world.
Excellent weight-to-power ratio
Power on its own is not enough to ensure extraordinary performance. The work done with a view to reducing the vehicle weight has been meticulous, and it has reaped particularly impressive results with the adoption of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre in the front bumper and front wheel arches, as well as the carbon fibre monocoque sports seats. Aluminium is used in the engine, doors, suspension and various composite materials in many other components. In the GTAm, a polycarbonate has been used in the side and rear window frames, further contributing to the weight reduction.
The combination of a lighter weight and the increase in power output to 540hp results in extraordinary performance. Courtesy of the Launch Mode system it only takes 3.6 seconds to travel from zero to 62mph. Different from the GTA, the Giulia GTAm offers a two-seater configuration with rear roll bar that is type-approved for on-road use. The Giulia GTA features the same power output with five seats resulting in a true supercar also suitable for the whole family.
F1 aerodynamics, provided by the invaluable know-how of Sauber Engineering
One factor from which Alfa Romeo technicians have been able to benefit greatly is aerodynamics, guaranteed by the expertise and facilities of Sauber Engineering. With its 50 years of experience in motorsport – 27 of which in F1, the Swiss firm has accrued in-depth expertise in aerodynamics, partly down to its very own wind tunnel, one of the most advanced in Europe.
The Sauber Engineering team played an active role in the design, prototyping and manufacturing of aerodynamic components for the Giulia GTA. Courtesy of the manually adjustable front splitter and rear aerowing, the Giulia GTAm can adapt its aerodynamic performance to any kind of track, precisely following the requests and preferences of its driver. The GTA and GTAm also benefit from a special new rear diffuser capable of increasing the car’s downforce, guaranteeing excellent road holding at high speeds. The Giulia GTAm is able to develop double the downforce compared to the Giulia GTA, and a triple increase compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen, from the Alfa Romeo Racing F1 team, played an active role in testing the car on the track, providing invaluable feedback on the car’s aerodynamic components and handling.
The pleasure of owning a car like the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA lies not only in its exceptional performance, but also in its exclusivity. Alfa Romeo has therefore set up a bespoke purchasing process, with a dedicated brand ambassador and experience package, including Bell helmet in GTA livery with the production number of the car, specific body-colour Goodwool car cover and exclusive after-sales services. The GTAm will also come with Alpinestars overalls, gloves and boots.
A range of customisations are also available, offering a unique purchase experience for this supercar. The starting point is the liveries, produced directly by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, recalling history and bringing out the best Alfa Romeo victories and iconography. The front, characterised by the historic white or ochre ‘mask’, is undoubtedly the first element of distinction that – combined with the longitudinal stripes on the roof and boot lid, as well as iconic elements of the Alfa Romeo logo such as the cross and Biscione on the bonnet – immediately brings the heart and mind to racing.
Customers can request one of the liveries, including one version featuring the Italian flag and another with Ochre metallic paintwork, and select a number to be emblazoned on the side door. Aside from the custom liveries, the Giulia GTA and GTAm will come in GTA Red, Trofeo White and Montreal Green, a colour palette that pays tribute to the Italian flag. Another layer of customisation lies in the selection of a colour of the brake calipers – including gold; and in the interior, the roll bar, seat belts and stitching.
GTA and Autodelta, a pairing packed with history and sporting successes
The initials GTA stands for ‘Gran Turismo Alleggerita’ (‘ Lightweight Gran Turismo’), originating in 1965 from the Giulia Sprint GTA, a version of the Sprint GT set up for sports type-approval and unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show that year. The bodywork of the Giulia Sprint GT was replaced with an identical aluminium body, with a total weight of 745kg compared to the 950kg of the road-going version. A second variation concerned the 1570-cc twin cam engine which, in its road-going configuration with dual ignition, reached an impressive output of 115hp. The technicians of Autodelta, the official Alfa Romeo racing department, chose it as the benchmark vehicle for the Touring category, and developed it to achieve a maximum output of 170hp.
Success in competitions came very soon after: three consecutive ‘Challenge Europeo Marche’, dozens of national championships and hundreds of single races all over the world. The Giulia Sprint GTA epitomised the claim “a victory a day in your everyday car”. Since then, the GTA has become part of the collective unconscious, as an undisputed icon of Biscione sportsmanship, the power of its initials ending up identifying Alfa Romeo sports cars simply by GTA.
Michelin, the right grip for extreme performances
The new Pilot Sport Cup 2 CONNECT allows the Giulia GTA to push the limits of grip, supporting its extreme performances. Architectural innovations in this tyre, such as the two-compound tread – stiffer material on the inside, more flexible on the outside – and the wavy summit technology provides a stiffness improvement in the tread, offering more steering precision which greatly contributes to the driving pleasure and perfect control of the vehicle in all speed conditions.
Bosch, safety and performance control for the new Giulia GTAm
Bosch powers the Giulia GTAm with two engine control modules. The two control units, one per bank, can be controlled individually; one bank can be disabled if necessary according to the torque required, with significant reductions in consumption and emissions. The Bosch modules also control the high and low- pressure direct injection system in the sleeve.
In this project, Bosch and Alfa Romeo engineers also worked hand-in-hand on acceleration control functions and new mappings for turbo compression supercharging.
Finally, the Bosch electric power steering with belt transmission regulates the steering of the vehicle, ensuring excellent precision in the choice of trajectories, greater safety in the event of a fault and a reduction in emissions and consumption compared to conventional hydraulic power steering.
Alcantara, made in Italy elegance and functionality
The interior of the Alfa Romeo GTA features Alcantara® in anthracite grey and black, a unique material that succeeds in combining the rationale of both aesthetics and functionality.
Pleasant to the touch, distinctive and elegant, from a practical point of view Alcantara is resistant to wear and is breathable, yet adheres to the driver’s body to offer just the right grip to avoid excessive shaking at high speeds. Its use on the dashboard – with its non-reflective properties – stops annoying reflections from disturbing the driver.
The lightness of the material, paired with carbon fibre, results in a significant overall decrease in the weight of the car compared to other materials, to the benefit of the car’s overall performance. Alcantara is therefore used even more extensively on the GTAm, where the removal of the rear seats leaves room for specific compartments, which are also upholstered in Alcantara, for helmets and a fire extinguisher. Contrasting body-colour stitching and the embroidered GTA logo in Alfa Romeo red accentuate the car’s racing spirit.
Like Alfa Romeo, Alcantara is a Made in Italy brand, meaning it can create products using advanced technologies, while maintaining the attention to detail typical of craftsmanship – one of the trump cards of its work.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm are available to order now, priced from €176,500 and €181,500 respectively. For further information or to locate the nearest Alfa Romeo retailer visit www.alfaromeo.co.uk