The new Fiat 124 Spider is made in collaboration with Mazda at the Hiroshima plant alongside the MX-5 Miata. Nicknamed the ‘Fiata’ by some, the Italian version is built around the Japanese roadster and while much is shared, much differs including looks and performance. You can get the 124 Spider in several trims aside from the base model: the Lusso, Classica, and Abarth. While the sportier Abarth pushes 166 PS out of its turbocharged 1.4L… Fiat developed the 124 Abarth R-GT for rallying. It’s angry. It’s noisy. It likes going sideways. It makes almost twice the power.

The Fiat 124 Abarth R-GT gets a turbocharged 1.8L instead, an engine tuned to make 304PS and is speculated to be derived from the heart of the Alfa Romeo 4C. Its roof is fixed on the car sporting an air scoop to get more fresh air into its compact cabin. 

GT cars were given the green light for international rally events in 2015. Instead of homologation rules, the FIA works closely with interested manufacturers and preparation companies to hand out technical passports for sports cars. Thus Group R-GT was created for the ERC and WRC, with 5 asphalt rally stages making up the title. R-GT cars must be 2WD, while 4WD must be converted as such.

The Fiat 124 Abarth R-GT sitting in a garage

“The creation of the R-GT Cup was a natural progression and we really hope to see more cars out in competition in the future. Certainly from the reaction we have seen so far, the fans love the sight and sound of these iconic cars,” said FIA Rally Director Jarmo Mahonen.

The R-GT Cup had its international break in 2015 with 5 stages including 3 from the WRC and 2 from the ERC. Porsche dominated the small lineup with the 997 GT3 and GT3RS, as well as the 996 GT3. Lotus attempted joining back in 2012 with an R-GT licensed Exige S — but after an accident caused by an electronics glitch, the car ceased making appearances. While R-GT was absent internationally in 2016, it remained popular in national and regional events.

Fiat’s project was hinted at by the retrospective rally concept sporting the same red and yellow scheme as seen on the classic 124 driven by the likes of Hannu Mikkola in the ‘70s. At first it seemed like just an aesthetic tribute, but it wasn’t. Fiat had real plans to take their 124 Abarth onto country roads and into serious oversteer; the R-GT Cup car will be sold to racers in time for the 2017 rally season. Watching the little 124 Abarth R-GT in beast mode will make even the old school cynic crack a smile.