Alfa Romeo's Golden Egg
Feast your eyes on Alfa Romeo’s secret Group C car.
A mass of diverse thunder floods forward at an excited rate as several wedge-shaped prototypes, all embellished with family brand logos and driven by motorsport's most noteworthy names, fight feistily for track position.
Ah, the halcyon long stretches of Group C sports car racing – an age when brave privateers stood every chance of thumping significant makers off their roosts, matrices and grandstands alike were blasting at the creases and the innovative envelope was pushed so far that the sports's free soul had to be diminished.
When Group C's administering body peddled the car business' greatest names in 1988 for their perspectives on a proposed change that would expel huge dislodging motors and Goliath turbochargers in favor of more modest Formula 1-derived engines, the fat cats at Alfa Romeo were interested. After all, Lancia was occupied with overwhelming Group A mobilizing after its Group C vehicle was retired in 1986 and every one of Ferrari's assets were, obviously, tied up in Formula 1.
It was therefore down to Alfa to fly the banner for the general Fiat bunch in the rewarding universe of endurance racing. In addition, the Milanese marque had its secret weapon as a refined 3.5-liter V10 that Pino D'Agostino had initially created for the Ligier Formula 1 group yet that had subsequently been installed in the stillborn 164 Procar. It was exactly the sort of motor the new Group C rules would support. All Alfa Romeo required was a case in which to plonk it. Enter Abarth.
Abarth had just planned Lancia's previous Group C passage, the LC2, a vehicle whose potential was eventually obstructed by the inconsistency of its turbocharged Ferrari motor. It was accordingly a LC2 case that was drafted in to test Alfa's new V10. At the marque's Balocco test track, the 620HP motor demonstrated promising execution but, maybe unavoidably, its fragile Latin temperament got the better out of it, and it was immediately announced unsuitable for purpose. In what was likely the greatest wound on the pride of Alfa Corse's specialists, a rebadged Ferrari V12 was picked instead.
As yet working under a severe smoke screen, another carbon-fiber monocoque was developed and previous Osella architect Giuseppe Petrotta worked with aerodynamics specialist Giorgio Comaschella to deliver an ordinary yet soul-stirringly excellent red body, finished with Alfa Romeo’s signature grille. The SE048SP was born. It may have been negligibly rich in elegance, however with its vast mouth, arrangement of intricately formed NACA pipes taking care of air to a perplexing arrangement of passages and altercations that encased the back tires, the vehicle's ground-impact capacities were obvious to see.
It didn't take a specialist to see that the Alfa Romeo SE048SP resembled an amazingly viable machine, however we'll unfortunately never know how it would have fared in the line of obligation as the whole venture was racked in September of 1990. There was a stressing absence of enthusiasm from individual makers in the modified Group C equation and as far Alfa Romeo was concerned, the administration at the head of the game implied the composing was at that point on the divider for the once-light arrangement. Furthermore, for what reason should it pipe so much time and cash into a model controlled by its resented sibling from Maranell? It assets could be far superior spent on an all the more effectively recognizable passenger vehicle – and we all know how successful that project proved to be.
The patriarch of the Momo organization and keen amateur racing driver Gianpiero Moretti voiced a genuine enthusiasm for hustling the stillborn model however tsk-tsk, an arrangement was rarely struck. Rather, the SE048SP was relegated to the Alfa Romeo exhibition hall and the set of experiences books. That the world never got the opportunity to observe this best in class red sensation in real life is a misfortune. Yet, unexpectedly, its evil destiny and mystery just serve to increase its sentiment and charm today. It was normally ravishing for an Alfa Romeo, yet it was likewise commonly Italian.