From Ron Salter [ 15/02/2008 ].
Click to read all other Skoda News.
On Monday of this week Skoda Auto presented the first official testing pictures of their new rally weapon, the Fabia S2000. Originally presented as a design study at the Geneva Motorshow nearly one year ago, the Fabia S2000 has certainly undergone a long gestation period. Skoda Motorsport are determined to get the new car spot on and fully benefit from the lessons learnt during the development of this car's predecessor, the Fabia WRC.
The Czech firms latest creation is the most aggressive of the S2000 cars presented so far, featuring massively blistered wheel arches - a legacy of the base road cars relatively narrow width. Skoda's engineers have made full use of the maximum permissable width for a car in this class and the result gives a similar overall appearance to the Fabia WRC - both a refreshing change from recent WRCars, particularly the rather plain looking Ford Focus WRC.
The lower-rear of the wheelarches both front and rear feature cutaways similar to those seen on the Fabia WRC05 in order to aid brake cooling. Although widely regarded as uncompetitive, it would be wrong to say the Fabia WRC was a bad car. It featured a strong aerodynamic package and good weight distribution and performed particularly well on the performance-orientated asphalt rallies as late as last year, even though by this stage the car was already two years old. Skoda's engineers will have been able to carry over many of the lessons learnt during the development of that car as far as weight distribution, packaging and general chassis construction go as the second generation Fabia road car is built on bascially the same platform and dimensions as the first.
Indeed, watching the first testing videos (link at the end of the article) one can already see that the new car's Lehmann-tuned engine appears to pull well, gearchanges are clean and fast, and the chassis seems well balanced and stable under heavy braking, even on wet asphalt. The Fabia S2000 has been born well.
Skoda Motorsport sources say that the firm are aiming for mid-year homologation for the car, but don't expect to see any competitive running in 2008 aside from runs on some Czech championship events in the latter half of the year. Jan Kopecky has driven most of the early testing kilometres (apart from those featured in the linked video apparantly), but the talented young Czech will busy himself this year with an IRC campaign in a Peugeot 207 as well as his start on Rally Mexico next month in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000. Jan's experience of these two competitor cars will certainly come in useful during the development of the new Fabia. Although nothing is yet confirmed, Skoda are widely expected to embark on a full IRC campaign from 2009 onwards.
Courtesy of our friends at www.autosport.cz please right click and "save target as" on the following link to see the Fabia S2000 in action: http://www.autosport.cz/video/files/bbf572029775c01b6779f99e0e74eabb.avi