Ciao Bella: Part 1 – Italian F1 GP, V.Rossi’s GP bike, Alfa Giulia, and Magneti Marelli stuff!


As thin as these spokes are, we have to assume these are forged wheels, and hence super light.  Brembo brakes made specifically for this model bring the Pirellis to a stop in a hurry.  The Brembo-Alfa Romeo relationship dates back 50 years!

The “Quadrifoglio” four-leaf clover is seen on Alfa’s high performance versions of certain models, and the term is well ingrained in the minds of the Alfisti. 

Earlier I'd briefly discussed my life as an Alfista, but what I didn’t mention was that my father was the one that started it all (I mean, what 16-year-old thinks about jumping right into an Alfa Romeo on his/her own in the States?).  He purchased his first GTV-6 new in ’83, and it looked like a spaceship back then.  It was handed down to me ten years later (because I’d  [cough cough] crashed my first ’75 Alfetta GT taking a turn too fast).  He then went on to buy a best-of-show concours-winning 84 GTV-6 before moving onto his next two “Quadrifoglio” Alfa Milanos, which came standard from the factory with bored 3.0-liters instead of the standard 2.5L as seen on the GTV-6s and base Milanos.

In telling you this, I can’t help but smile when I think of how many times he would pull the “oh but it’s Japanese” comment when I'd point out an import.  One ride in Project Supra ten years ago changed that real quick.

My father went on to race two beautiful Alfa GTV 2000s.  With an open, side-exit exhaust on each (and on the driver side!), these were the loudest racecars I'd ever driven.  However, he ironically switched to the land of the rising sun in a Mazda Miata near-spec racecar (Coleman would be proud), which he races to this day–yes, with the Alfa Club–and he's soon turning 68!  I guess my father, too, got tired of going to Laguna Hills all the time.

The Alfas, as problematic as a few of them were in the 80s, were still a blast to drive.  I can’t help but get excited about their return to the USA.

The Alfa Romeo 4C has already been released in the USA, and I suspect the 237 BHP 1.7-liter turbocharged rocket is selling well because I’ve already seen three out here in the Midwest this Fall.

Entering into the circuit’s infield tunnel, I started to get the goose bumps because, not only could I see the podium and some of the stands, the GP2 cars were blasting through that front straight above with ear-piercing decibels coming from their 10,000 RPM normally-aspirated 4.0-liter V8s pumping 620 BHP

By contrast, a Formula 1 car is limited to just 1.6-liters of turbocharged V6 displacement, which is good for 760 BHP when using its full hybrid capabilities (more on that in the next few pages).

Pirelli is the sole tire supplier to Formula 1 (oh come on, bring back the tire wars!), and most cars seem to be running OZ Racing wheels. I would love just one of these to turn into a little coffee table. 

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