During the nineties, April seemed to be a propitious month for Alfa Romeo in the field of competition. The legendary Italian brand set out to conquer the German and British circuits where real battles took place between Touring cars from the world’s leading manufacturers. And judging by the results, it was a risky but brilliant move that restored the brilliance of its best times. It seems incredible that 30 years have passed and at Squadra Lupo we believe that this anniversary is well worth the memory.
The 1993 DTM season had started with many new features and changes. Both BMW and Audi had withdrawn their factory teams and Mercedes-Benz seemed to have a clear path to the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship. The arrival of Alfa Romeo with its official team and its 155 V6 Ti with all-wheel drive did not scare the Germans, who also thought that winning the title would be a simple process. The rest of the private competitors -Ford Mustang, BMW M3 and Opel Omega- did not have an adequate budget compared to the power of the official teams.
But as soon as the competitors arrived at Zolder -the first date of the championship held on April 4- they ran into the rapid dominance of Alfa Romeo in practice and qualifying. The rain covered the entire asphalt of the Belgian circuit and in these conditions, the all-wheel drive of the 155 was decisive. The result? Double victory for Nicola Larini and Alfa Corse. Thus began a season where the color red would shine brighter than ever. Today, that Alfa Romeo is perfectly preserved in the Squadra Lupo collection.
A year later, and coincidentally also in April, the BTCC began its 1994 season at the difficult Thruxton circuit. Driven by the DTM title obtained the previous year, Alfa Romeo launched into the British conquest regardless of the carats of its direct competitors: Renault Laguna, Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Cavalier, Volvo 850 State, Mazda Xedos 6 and BMW 318i. Alfa Corse entered the BTCC under Super Touring regulations for the first time, introducing the revolutionary 155 TS homologation special and with Gabriele Tarquini as lead driver.
The controversy started in the first competition when Alfa Romeo added extended front and rear wings to qualify. The Italian team had kept its secret aerodynamics in reserve, having tested with a standard front and rear wing during pre-season. However, the homologation sheet was correct and the protest from the rival teams did not prosper. Tarquini dominated the entire competition: he took pole position and got the opening victory, the first of a series of 5 consecutive.
However, the true secret of the excellent performance of the Alfa Romeo was not in the aerodynamics but in the differential. Tarquini remembers it this way: “Everyone was very surprised by our performance at the start of the 1994 season. The aerodynamic additions on the car were only a small addition to the overall performance, but we also ran and won without the rear wing for several careers. The front wing made a medium difference, but the secret to this car was the front differential. We introduced this differential, which was a combination of hydraulics and mechanics, which gave us a big boost in performance and that’s how we got to the championship. That Alfa Romeo was a fantastic car to drive“.