“Sunday morning, 8 am at the barrier”
Fiat 595 Abarth Competizione: “Ring tool” with BILSTEIN suspension
Many stories begin unspectacularly, almost quietly. As in the case of the Johann family. Quiet in this case, however, is to be taken quite literally. Because one day the second car of the Johanns suddenly didn’t make a sound anymore. So, a replacement was needed. Mr. Johann took care of the matter – and probably had no idea what development he had set in motion as a result.
Because with the on-line search he came across a Fiat 595 Abarth Competizione. He apparently liked the Italian “bubble car”. Small, sweet and thanks to 180 hp equipped with a certain temperament – the right car for his better half.
Kathi, the better half, couldn’t help it and had to test drive the little Italian as soon as possible. Less than 24 hours later, a Fiat dealer at Jülich, a few kilometres west of Cologne, was able to enter another order into his order books.
What Mr. Johann couldn’t have guessed: The little Abarth awakened the track virus in Kathi, who had already made the Nürburgring-Nordschleife unsafe ten years earlier with a Nissan 350Z. A few weeks after the Fiat 595 Abarth Competizione had been delivered, the rear seat was already taken out of the car for weight reasons. Among other things, four-point belts and a roll cage were installed instead. The engine power was increased from 180 hp to about 205 hp with the aid of ECU tuning.
“We’ve always had a certain suburban idyll. Everything has changed with the Abarth,” laughs Kathi. The cheeky Italian not only wakes up his neighbours in the morning, but the not-so-sweet “Cinquecento” also likes to trigger the alarm systems of overly sensitive neighbouring vehicles in multi-storey car parks.
But because the Fiat 595 Abarth Competizione is much too good to park, Kathi drives it regularly the 90 kilometers to the Nürburgring. The contacts to the local Abarth scene were quickly established. “When I first entered the scene and got to know people who drive regularly on the racetrack, I was nicknamed “Rennluder” (Racing Babe) pretty quickly,” Kathi says. “Of course, I didn’t like that at first, but from the name a strong group emerged: “Die Rennluder” (the Racing Babes). We regularly meet at the Nordschleife, our motto: “Sunday morning, 8 am at the barrier.”
Meanwhile, Kathi can be found on two or three weekends a month at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
And because Kathi makes no compromises with her Abarth, the standard suspension had to give way to our BILSTEIN B14. “With the series suspension, the car is not drivable on the race track because, among other things, it is strongly sprung. The BILSTEIN B14 is significantly tighter and enables higher cornering speeds. I no longer have the feeling that the car is tipping over,” Kathi smiles. “I feel much better with the BILSTEIN suspension. I can brake in a completely different way, have more traction and all in all a completely different, but above all safer driving feel”.
“On the race track there is no distraction, just you and your car, just this one thing you have to concentrate 100% on. It is simply a very special, indescribable feeling. Either you have this virus or you don’t.” For Kathi, excursions to the race track are a welcome contrast to her office job. And sometimes Mr. Johann is allowed to join her. In the passenger seat, of course.