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Old 25th November 2015, 14:02   #1
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Default Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

No, this is not a test drive report of the Abarth! Just sharing my experiences of the test drive event organized by a dealer on Nov 8, 2015 at Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore.

The prelude:

Rewind back to October 22, 2015, 4Pm IST. That was when I landed at CAI showroom in Coimbatore for the test drive of the Abarth Punto. By the time I reach, DRIV3R was already revving the TD car somewhere on the Avinashi road and I was impatiently waiting for him to get back. Had to kill time pondering around the display car when suddenly the crowd at the showroom started building up.

It was very rare to see so many people walking into the FIAT showroom and every one was there to check out the Abarth. In few minutes, there was hardly any space and hence stepped out of the showroom eagerly awaiting for DRIV3R to come back.

Few minutes later, he is back and we had a detailed chat about his experience while another customer takes a TD. So we continue our discussion till the car comes back and then I hopped onto the TD car while Sai boards his black mamba and starts off to his hometown.

Post the TD, checked with the dealer on when my cousin's Punto Abarth (that was booked long back) would arrive and then called Mr Yuvaraj (Dy. manager sales) who wasn't around that time. He said they were planning on a track day with the Abarth Punto and he was away on that task.

That sparkled a lot of excitement with which I returned home.

Next day, my friend Senthil calls me and coveys that the track day is confirmed on Nov 8 at Kari speedway and said CAI sought our thoughts for the event. We get into a discussion with Yuvaraj. They felt it will be good to get someone from the racing arena for the event. Few phone calls and a couple of days later, we get the nod from Mr. VR Naren Kumar (India's most successful rally driver) for the event. He's a good friend of my BIL and he had accepted the invite for the event. Naren hardly acknowledges such requests and it was just for the request of my BIL he gave the green. Else he's the sort of person who keeps a very low profile. Little did we know that his presence would turn out something very very special!

With this done, rest was being handled by CAI whilst I completed my vacation and returned back to work in Chennai.

The big Dilemma

Once back to Chennai, the biggest dilemma for me was on whether I take my S10 from Chennai to Coimbatore for the event! There was no clarity or assurance on whether I would be able to drive my S10 on the track, but still something inside me was pestering to drive down in the S10.

The heart wanted S10 while my wallet was pleading not to! (I was just back from a vacation with over 2000kms clocked and also my Linea's cooling coil replacement had dented my wallet further).

After much deliberation and thought, decided to take the S10 after another friend Aravindh offered to car pool for the festive weekend

The drive to CBE

So finally the drive down to Coimbatore happened with the S10 on Dec 6 (Friday) around 5:30 PM along with two other Punto's (Dhans & Karthik).

It was 9 people in 3 cars and we set off after work. We were preparing ourselves to face some very heavy traffic all the way since Diwali was around the corner. Just about some 10 mins into the journey, we get a wake up call in the form of a pig that suddenly charges into my S10 (I was leading with the 2 Punto's following me) from the opposite side of the road. Maybe it was on a suicide mission, but I couldn't honor its decision and in order to save my car, had to get out off the road and we continued the journey which was otherwise a wonderful one.

Traffic was pretty dense until Chengalpet. We took the Pudhupakkam, Kayaar, Chengalpet route. On reaching the GST, it didn't change much and had a very ordinary drive. There were too many cars with an 'L' sticker loaded with passengers and luggage which were good enough to completely block their rear windshield.

We had good company in the form of a Polo TSI and a captiva

Then the rains started, though not heavy, it was good enough to slow the majority of the vehicles and to add salt to the would, the rear fogs were switched on by quite a lot of them which made it really worse! Luckily the hazards were missing this time.

Post Ulundurpet, traffic was relatively free and we reached Coimbatore around 2am.

Saturday, Nov 7:

Just one day for the event and I visited CAI service for a quick check on the S10. Senthil had also joined me there. Things were fine and when I was about to leave, a black Punto Abarth arrived there. It was driven down from Salem True Sai for the track day! Wound up from there and visited the CAI showroom and met Yuvraj. He shared the plan and sequence of events planned and asked our suggestions. The plan was to assemble at CAI showroom at 8am on Sunday and start to the track as a convoy with the Abarth's! We finalized the same and just when I was supposed to leave, there arrived the Abarth 595 from Chennai on a flat bed! CAI had borrowed the 595 from RDC Chennai for this event!

Things were really getting more interesting for the big day on Sunday.

Sunday, Nov 8:

Sunday we gather at the CAI showroom. It was around 15 cars and we start off and did manage to turn quite a lot of eyes en route. It was a slow drive and traffic was also on the higher side till Podanur and we reach the track. The registration counters were set up and we all queued up.

Contact details were taken and a pass with a serial number was provided to everyone for their turn to drive. CAI also gave away wonderful 'Abarth' branded T-shirts for us.

The stage was set and a video regarding the history of FIAT was being played. The media was also present and the event started off with brief note about abarth and CAI also introduced their sales and service teams to all and assured their support as always. Then few words were shared by the MD of CAI Mr. Anvar who was very happy to see us all and thanked MFW for the support we have been providing to CAI and he was astonished with the brotherhood and fan following that FIAT has.

Next it was the launch. A white Abarth was covered up at the track and Naren did the honors by unveiling the same in his own style. That got the crowd on its feet and the remaining was non stop thrill and entertainment for all of us; courtesy Naren! He was in his groove and would have done 50+ laps!

Then, as per the registered sequence number, we got into the passenger seat alongside Naren and it was quite an experience. Finally, we were given the opportunity to drive the abarth's while I too got the opportunity to be driven by Naren in my Very own S10! That was a life moment for me and Naren was mighty pleased with the S10 too! He said better tires and brakes would make this a perfect track car!

Now, let the pictures do the talking! Thanks to SriDa for the captures.

En-route

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Entering the arena

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There we arrive

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The Stage was set!

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The guard of honor

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The registration desk

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The pit crew

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Our folks

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Wonder what that distraction was?

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Naren set to unveil!

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Some action on the track!

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The 595 too got its chance

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Avvy leading the way

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Old 25th November 2015, 14:18   #2
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Default re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Some action off the track!

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Old 25th November 2015, 16:22   #3
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Thread moved to the Motorsports Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th November 2015, 22:48   #4
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Thank you for sharing some nice pics. Do you have any videos of the action? Would be nice to have a 'feel' of it.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th November 2015 at 13:55. Reason: Typo.
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Old 26th November 2015, 08:06   #5
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Smile Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Great set of pics.

The Palio stands out amongst the powerhorses. Was it Abarthified too?
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Old 26th November 2015, 08:24   #6
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Man, I really hate being in Mumbai. Guys down South have so much fun and we guys staying in the financial hub of India don't even have a Fiat Dealership in Mumbai let alone an exclusive Abarth dealership or for that matter even a race track

On a different note, I notice you haven't added pictures of the tires post the laps done by Naren, which you have added on another thread. Also, what was Naren's feedback on the Abarth?? What negatives and positives did he notice post the runs?
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Old 26th November 2015, 11:27   #7
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Have this weird proud smile on my face and a bit of Goosebumps to see such event happened in our very own Kovai. (Short name of Coimbatore for folks who might not be aware of). Thank you so much for sharing the post, definitely great set of pictures there. Also kudos to you for driving the S10 from Chennai to experience it in the tracks, when one would be rather curious to take the Abarth Punto for a spin. For me that's a TRUE enthusiast. Just wanted to know the distance of each lap (when you mentioned Naren would have done 50+ laps), my analytic mind wants to know how much distance and time it may have taken the rubber to worn out ?
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Old 26th November 2015, 14:30   #8
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Glad you all liked the thread! Photo credits to SriDa. Full resolution pics are here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskpceom7

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Thank you for sharing some nice pics. Do you have any videos of the action? Would be nice to have a 'feel' of it.
Few mobile videos shall share once I'm back home today. But proper videos shall take some time, waiting for the DVD from CAI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Great set of pics.

The Palio stands out amongst the powerhorses. Was it Abarthified too?
Thx ghodulur. The S10 is pretty much stock except the seats and exhaust

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
On a different note, I notice you haven't added pictures of the tires post the laps done by Naren, which you have added on another thread. Also, what was Naren's feedback on the Abarth?? What negatives and positives did he notice post the runs?
Ah! Forgot them. Shall add tonight. Let me re-collect Naren's feedback what ever little he spoke. But once I get the DVD mentioned above, guess we all can view his feedback. There was a short video they shot where he shared his views on the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keynote View Post
Have this weird proud smile on my face and a bit of Goosebumps to see such event happened in our very own Kovai. (Short name of Coimbatore for folks who might not be aware of). Thank you so much for sharing the post, definitely great set of pictures there. Also kudos to you for driving the S10 from Chennai to experience it in the tracks, when one would be rather curious to take the Abarth Punto for a spin. For me that's a TRUE enthusiast. Just wanted to know the distance of each lap (when you mentioned Naren would have done 50+ laps), my analytic mind wants to know how much distance and time it may have taken the rubber to worn out ?
Thx Keynote! That is true. I never drove the Punto that day. I got driven by Naren in my S10 for one lap and then did few laps on my own. Distance, not sure, guess its around 2.5 kms but there were close to 60ppl who registered and almost all of them went along Naren for a lap. One at a time folks put on their helmet's and hopped onto the car. When a lap was done, car was back in pits and the next guy got in.

Naren was specific that the next guy in needs to be ready with the helmet on and once car was stopped, a quick swap of passengers and he took off! He acknowledged every single person! Some preferred to drive whilst few even went twice with Naren. Was very nice of him. At one stage, people were more keen to be driven than drive it themselves.

Surprisingly he was happy with the tyres. Did not complain, but he mentioned pretty early that it won't last post noon and that was the case.

On the contrary, at the first curve in my S10 he said my Nexen's are no good
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Old 26th November 2015, 21:00   #9
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

As promised, few videos from mobile. Keep your expectations to a bare minimum

Ending the first lap or rather the launch the lap :





S10's track debut:



Dhans getting a feel of the track:

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Old 28th November 2015, 15:10   #10
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

First things first. Your S10's exhaust note - ah, Sweet! Is that a TN 59 regn?

I thought Chennai - Salem - Coimbatore is the popular route but you took Chengalpet - Trichy - Karur? how are the roads comparatively?

Looks like you guys had a fun filled day there in the track.

Punto Abarth looks hot and how I wish Fiat to be selling more of them. May be they should start supplying their cars to Maruti (similar to their engine) for a year or two and then start themselves!

Awaiting more videos.
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Old 28th November 2015, 19:09   #11
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganesc View Post
First things first. Your S10's exhaust note - ah, Sweet! Is that a TN 59 regn?
Thx! Yea its 59 reg.

Quote:

I thought Chennai - Salem - Coimbatore is the popular route but you took Chengalpet - Trichy - Karur? how are the roads comparatively?
Nope, we took Chengalpet, Ulundurpet, attur, Salem, cbe.

To reach Chengalpet we take the Thiruporur - Chengalpet road. Though this is a two-lane road, we can by pass perungalathur, vandalur and those bottlenecks.
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Old 30th November 2015, 12:31   #12
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

The return journey was even more exciting! My quickest drive from Coimbatore to Chennai (6 hrs of travel time with 3 stops; one each for picking Aravind at Salem, bfast at Attur and fuel at Melmaruvathur). It was the next day after Diwali and roads were literally empty. Steady and consistent 3 digit cruising. Full bang for the extra spent on Petrol.

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Fuel efficiency in onward drive was 11.5kmpl and in return was 12.45kmpl. Onward figures damaged due to traffic.
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Old 4th December 2015, 12:30   #13
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Track Day at Kari Motor Speedway

The Palio still looks like a million bucks! I think the old Palio, especially the S10, has the real racing machine design. Somehow, for me, the Punto does not match up to it...
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