After 20 years of fierce competition, the iconic Team ENZED 1964 Fiat Abarth 1000 (nicknamed Barty) of Rotorua’s Mike Lowe has been retired to the National Motorsport Museum in Cromwell for a well-deserved rest.
For the 21st running of Targa New Zealand, Team ENZED Abarth are debuting its replacement: “Barty2- The Sequel,” a new works-built Fiat Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, painted of course in the distinctive ENZED colours as campaigned over the last two decades.
The new car is unique in the southern hemisphere, one of only 49 built by the Abarth factory in Turin.
“It has taken over two years of negotiation to secure one of these fabulous cars,” said Lowe.
“It clearly shows its lineage back to the original Abarth race cars and really is the Barty of the 21st Century.”
Targa begins in Auckland on Monday 26th October, ultimately finishing in Palmerston North six days later after completion of 35 stages totaling over 1000km criss-crossing the central North Island.
“It’s a massive event this year and by far the toughest tarmac rally in the world,” said Lowe.
Just finishing the event is the major achievement, and as the only team to have started and finished all Targa events since its inception in 1995, Team ENZED Abarth want to keep that record intact.
“Running a historic car like Barty was always a challenge, but at least it is easy to work on. Modern cars, although faster and more reliable, take longer to repair, so our aim this year with the new Barty2 is just to finish. We can add more power and other niceties for 2016.”
The event this year has overnight stops in Hamilton, New Plymouth, Hastings and Palmerston North finishing there on Saturday 31st October.
Targa clearly has cemented its position as the largest motorsport event in NZ, and Team ENZED Abarth is looking forward to continuing its enviable record with Barty 2!
“Barty will never be forgotten. In fact we will be bringing the original ENZED Abarth out of retirement shortly as we hope to compete in Australia in 2016, so look out Aussie Porsches” said a smiling Lowe.
For further details on Team ENZED Abarth , please contact Mike Lowe on 0061-409-895-945 , or visit www.teamabarth.co.nz
Lowe would like to thank ENZED plus other sponsors: Stratco, Sweeney Townsend & Associates Ltd and Colin Davis Panel Beaters.