Fiat’s race version of the cheeky Cinquecento was revealed at the 2008 Paris Auto Show. Modified by Fiat’s in-house tuning company Abarth, the Assetto Corse (or “Racing Trim”) featured 17-inch (43-cm) ultralight race wheels, adjustable suspension, a winged rear spoiler, and twin tailpipes. Painted pastel grey, the car bore Abarth’s scorpion logo and red race stripes; the four white roof checkers pay tribute to the all-conquering Abarth 850 Turismo Competizione car of the 1960s.
Replaced by carbon fiber where necessary, 3,97l _pounds (180 kg) of surplus interior trim were removed. The single race seat, complete with six- point safety harness, was shifted slightly nearer to the car’s center to help with weight distribution. With a turbocharged 83-cubic-inch (1,368-cc) engine pushing out 190 bhp (142 kW), and a curb weight of only 2,050 pounds (930 kg), the Assetto Corse had a better power- to-weight ratio than the Porsche Cayman.
Only forty-nine examples of the Fiat 500-based track cars were built in 2008; almost all were snapped up by race drivers looking to enter the Abarth 500 Trophy race series held at circuits across Europe. Before taxes, the Assetto Corse costs a whopping €32,800 ($43,150/£26,970), while the championship’s entry fee is another €12,000 ($15,800/£9,875). But Abarth threw in branded race overalls, helmet, gloves, and shoes.
In 2011 an even hotter, track-focused Cinquecento entered the one-make race series. The Abarth 695 Assetto Corse wrung another 15 bhp (11 kW) from the same 83-cubic-inch engine and featured a sequential gearbox, welded roll cage, and lightweight Lexan windows. Who said the Fiat 500 was a woman’s car?