Short wheelbase, cheeky timeless looks, a stance that is always poised for action, the little 1600cc Alfa GTA is deserving of its iconic status. With historied, original cars now changing hands in excess of £250k, there is clearly no shortage of die hard fans. And I can understand why.
With every passing lap today in this terrier of a car, I found just a little more lap time. And then a little more... and a little more again. The point is that just when you think you've got a grasp of how to take a racing car to its adhesive limit, the GTA thumbs its nose and asks you to think again. So capable is the pert chassis, that if you get the car balanced right - and I mean just right - into the turns, you're rewarded with a monumental amount of grip. But it's so hard to ride that tightrope - trail brake a little too long and you'll scrub all speed off with arm fulls of opposite lock. Don't trail long enough and the resulting understeer will force a little lift later in the turn, ruining exit momentum. But get it 'just so' and you barely have to steer at all... and it feels fantastic.
All sounds pretty intense right? Well the irony - and the beauty - is that this isn't actually a hard car to drive at all! Any entry level track day driver would have a wail of a time flinging a GTA around, not be at all intimidated and, if anything, be slightly underwhelmed at the level of grunt. But as your driving progresses, so too does the Alfa's apparent abilities. It's an outstanding entry level machine for aspiring historic racers, but one that also keeps the most experienced hands on their toes... and that's some combination. The car featured here, a true original prepared by Formula GT of Munich, Germany, is an example of the very best, the little 1600cc engine happily revving to an astonishing 8,400rpm.
This video contains a full speed lap, followed by a repeat in slow motion. Both contain added commentary explaining the techniques required for each corner in great detail. I'm not too sure about lap time because traffic mean having to stitch a clean lap together in editing. But a later lap I drove, unfortunately unrecorded on camera, was clocked at 2m06.9secs, which by all accounts is a highly competetive pace for a little GTA (on Avon tyres) and provides for a good benchmark. This video is essential viewing for anyone racing at Hockenheim in need of a little professional guidance - or indeed, for anyone who simply enjoys watching a special little historic race car being pushed to its limits. Enjoy!