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Hugh Tompkins at Roebling Road - 2008-12-15

Wanted to give you an update regarding my first track event with the new Abarth engine.

It was a 3 day event at Roebling Road which is a 2.01 mile road course with 10 turns and located outside Savannah. This was a "casual" event with plenty of track time.... great for breaking-in & testing the new engine, not to mention getting some seat time in the coupe as this was the first time I'd been to this track with this car.

I was in Group 1 with about 33 cars.The first session was merely running in the engine to a max of 6,000 rpm's and pitting every couple of laps to check for any leaks/possible problems. All was well. The next two sessions involved getting the "driver" up to speed on the track with the Abarth as I was feeling like a duck out of water! Finally after a few sessions,I was getting comfortable with the car and the track turning a little over 7,000 rpm's at the end of the straight. Due to the gearing, I stayed in 4th gear around the whole course, as down shifting would slow me down too much.

I was most impressed with the acceleration down the straight.... due I am sure to the new engine and aluminum fly wheel! In the Qualifying Race on Saturday, I got a good start and passed 3-4 cars before turn one. Boy that felt good!

On Sunday I entered the one hour enduro and was gridded 30th out of about 40+ cars. We ended up 12th overall which I was very happy about. The new engine ran strong and finished the race! Many did not due to "driver error" or mechanical problems. My quickest lap time was 1:30.8 with the Abarth beating my best time in my first race car, a Giulietta Sprint Veloce, which turned a 1:32.2. My fastest lap time at this track was 1:28.1 four years ago in my GTA Jr. So the "little"  Fiat Abarth 1300/124 was 2.8 seconds behind the mighty GTA..... I'll take that any time! Best in the New Year - Hugh

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