Melbourne based Abarth Motorsports have put on a David and Goliath performance during the 2014 Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race at Mount Panorama.
Two of the three Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Fiat 500s entered, finished inside the top 25 with #96 finishing 18th overall, after going wheel to wheel against a host of the world's fastest GT-class cars and drivers. The third Abarth Motorsport entrant completed the required distance to give Abarth Motorsport a 100 per cent finishing record.
V8 Supercar driver Luke Youlden and former Nations Cup champion Paul Stokell completed the race's first and final stints in the #96 and #95 entrants.
Abarth Motorsport Team Manager Alan Heaphy said the result underlined the efforts of his experienced race team, mechanical integrity of the Abarths and performance of the drivers, many of whom had gone into the race with minimal race experience.
"This was a classic tale of the little guys showing the big guys a thing or two," said Heaphy, a former two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winning team boss. "We proved early in the weekend that we had the speed to qualify and today we showed we had the reliability and consistency to finish in the top 20 among a big, talented field, which is fantastic."
Fiat Chrysler Group President and CEO Veronica Johns said such a high finish was a major breakthrough for the team. "This is a historic day for Abarth Motorsport and everyone who made this result a reality. We are extremely proud of the drivers, who have shown incredible commitment and professionalism through this whole process," said Johns.
The Ferrari 458 GT3 of Bathurst 1000 legends Craig Lowndes, John Bowe and former Formula One driver Mika Salo, clinched an overall win.