Santa Fe Springs in Los Angeles sounds romantic. In reality, the spot is an industrial area southeast of L . A .. But that doesn’t mean something romantic isn’t going onThe result is distinctly Italian-American, which is hardly surprising, as the godfather of Road Race Motorsports is likewise Italian-American: Rob Tallini. We’re the first company in North America to make and develop performance parts for that 500, says Tallini, a person who has spent 30 years racing many machines on many surfaces against other cars and the clock. Parked just outside is a fully prepped Mitsubishi Evo that looks able to tackle the Monte Carlo Rally at the moment’s notice. Inside the shop is a 911 GT3. RRM has worked with several manufacturers to create special projects.
2012 fiat 500 abarth RRM fender flare 14
2012 fiat 500 abarth RRM grille insert 15
2012 fiat 500 abarth carbon fiber side mirror cover 12
The automobile we’re most interested in right now is the Fiat 500 Abarth. Tallini is collating and refining a package he calls M1, though once on the RRM shop, it’s a somewhat open-ended list of modifications. It definitely needs to be wide-bodied and reach a sufficient level of chassis and power tuning. The M stands for macchina, which is Italian for machine. In these pictures are two of the first four M1 builds, the black car getting a touch more attention compared to white one. These parts are all built towould you like to do with it? When that question is answered, it will dictate how the car is fettled. But Tallini has his very own template: a setup appropriate for tarmac rallying. He says it’s the one that will give you the most satisfaction therefore making you most likely to operate a vehicle it.
Once the commitment is made, there’s no going back. Sections of the fenders are cut away to make room to the wider wheel/tire combination, topped off by carbon-fiber flares. RRM receives raw alloy wheels and finishes them according to the customer’s wishes. Inside the shop can be a black, chromed set that appears super-cool in person, although the anodized red versions photograph well.
On virtually every RRM vehicle are Toyo Proxes tires. Tallini has used them extensively in his racing career and finds them consistent with their ability to provide grip and resist wear.
2012 fiat 500 abarth CF side mirror cover 13
2012 fiat 500 abarth road race motorsports front lip 18
2012 fiat 500 abarth RRM carbon fiber fender flare 22
There’s actually a lot of carbon fiber on an M1, from side mirror caps to the aerodynamic kit towards the vented hood. They all come from the shop’s own molds and therefore are the shop’s own designs. Tallini feels that carbon fiber is just one of his operation’s strong suits. Note the way the side skirts expand once the doors, making them less apt to be trodden on, and for easier entry and exit.
RRM doesn’t bother trying to remove the original Abarth rear wing; it’s too destructive. Instead, a specially designed carbon-fiber piece slips onto it.
Move to the carbon-fiber rear diffuser and there’s a Formula One-style third brake light set in it, as well as the tailpipes of RRM’s own stainlessthe leading lip is actually a duct that feeds air to the front brakes-enough to keep them able and cool to address fade during track day torturing. The uprated braking system continues to be developed along with anchor aficionados StopTech. Pad compound is Tallini’s recipe.
Just by looking at this brake ducting, we appreciate the twin goals of lightness and coolness that pervade the build. Lightness obviously helps with balance and agility. A little Antigravity lithium battery, only a fraction of the load of regular lead/acid batteries, is one small step toward shedding the pounds.
Saving weight throughout means having the capability to pinpoint the location where the heavy stuff can go, like subframe braces and the hexagonal rear antiroll bar. The merits or else of a six-sided antiroll bar can be argued this way and this, but Tallini says a customer of his saw lap times improve substantially once an RRM Big Red antiroll bar had been fitted. He said it transformed the automobileuses a new in-house ECU, plus military-grade heatshields for the downpipe and turbo. The NACA vent and duct in the carbon-fiber hood contribute to keeping intake temperatures just 3 to 5 degrees higher than exterior temperatures. Forever measure, RRM also offers the choice of water/methanol cooling.
It’s always a positive sign when the invisible custom-made stuff looks good. RRM’s lightweight pulley is a wonderful piece of machined aluminum. Tallini may have gone for any smaller pulley, but learned that a fullsize unit is most effective.The factory turbocharger continues to be boosted around 22 psi, considered by RRM to be its sweet spot, having gone up to 30 psi in testing, but opting to back them back in the interests of reliability and civility. You can find no trade-offs at this point, Tallini says. No need for bigger injectors that drink more fuel. And we’ve not given up any driveability.
Tallini claims engine output is 250 hp at 5,500 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm, measured at the crank. The flatness in the torque curve between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm gives some idea of how sweetly driveable this engine is.
No transmission mods on these specific cars, but RRM does offer a limited-slip differential and its particular own carbon/Kevlar clutch components.
In virtually any car definitely worth the trouble, there’s always a little bit of German engineering. Here, it’s the Bilstein suspension, tuned in conjunction with RRM to provide compliance as well as grip on the track or the street. Ride height at the front is lowered by 1.5 inches from stock, 1.75 inches at the rear. It’s virtually the same equipment and setup used in the fleet of 500s driven by the Italian police. There’s no adjustability, but it’s all done perfectly, Tallini says. That’s because Bilstein and RRM handled this together for a whole year, only using RRM’s cars throughout the process.then when you sit in the Racetech sports seat and grab the RRM aluminum shift knob (that’s designed and machined to match neatly in your hand), you can fantasize to get a second that you’re by using a sequential ‘box.
Another technique for losing weight is to ditch the rear seats. Some customers do, some don’t. An M1 Abarth could be simply the thing for yourIt will take a donor car (a current 2014 500 Abarth starts at $22,195) plus somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000 for a serial-numbered M1. Or it’s easy to even get north of this amount, depending on how tricked out a customer would really like the car being. See how the white example has some smart leather upholstery with contrasting stitching. RRM also offers a complete roof transplant, taking off the metal one and replacing it with carbon fiber.
It’s taken around two years to bring together this collection of parts and then refine them. Tallini and his team are rightly proud of their M1 package and clearly loving the job involved. But inveterate racers never rest on their laurels. In Tallini’s case, here comes that Romeo name again. He’s looking forward to the Alfa Romeo 4C and what Road Race Motorsports can do for that car-which could bepads, calipers and rotors stainless steelharnesses and Rollcage
Toyo tires, Bilstein, plus all our partners who have helped us (RRM) achieve the highest-performing Fiats around the continent.