Italian specialist racing car manufacturer Picchio is
gearing up for a full blown return to top-line sportscar racing
The small, high-tech company, located near Teramo in
central Italy, already has experience of the US sportscar
scene after building one of the batch of inaugural 'Daytona
Prototype' cars for the newly-resurgent Grand American
Building on the
valuable experience they gained from this early venture,
they are now working flat-out on a new
chassis for 2005, which fully incorporates the many lessons learnt
from their first venture across the Atlantic.
While the new prototype
starts to take shape in their 3,200m2
purpose-built workshops, which include the latest CAD/CAM
design facilities and an advanced safety department, they
are, at the same time, considering options for the 2005 Le Mans Endurance
In fact Picchio have been in action over the last weekend with
one of their CN2 prototypes, competing in the
ever popular sports-prototype knock-out competition held under the auspices of
the 29th Bologna Motor Show.
Picchio 'Light' is an ideal, user-friendly and
low-cost entry level racing sportscar which
regularly competes on the Italian hillclimb and
track racing scene
Being the only
CN2 class car in the entry list, meant that the 2.0-litre Honda-powered
car would line up against three-litre powered rivals.
Despite this handicap, and that driver Walter Margelli had
very little experience of the car prior to the event, an
excellent performance was turned in.
Margelli, using the agility and balance of the little car
to his maximum advantage, set sixth fastest preliminary time, and
performed well in the heats before being eliminated by one
of the much more powerful CN4 class cars, a machine that in fact went
on to reach the final.
Picchio presently have four racing cars in production,
from the 'Light', an open cockpit two-seat car constructed
from tubular aluminium and steel, a mount popular with
Italian hillclimb and sprint racers, through the
International-regulation CN and SR2 cars, with their lightweight
composite bodies, to the advanced-design 'Daytona
Prototype', specifically created to take advantage of the
recent sweeping new Grand American regulations.
While a Picchio
SR2, fitted with an Alfa Romeo engine, is expected to
feature in next year's LMES, the focus of attention has now
turned to their new DP chassis, a totally new car, that is
the result of data and experience gathered over the last
three seasons or racing.
Picchio's next-generation CN2 class racer, currently
under development, will hit arrive on the Italian
tracks next spring and is expected to feature
prominently in the 2005 Italian 'Prototypes'
built their first 'Daytona Prototype' for the new GrandAm regulations introduced in 2002, now a
'second generation' racer is on it way
"Structurally," a Picchio spokesman told Italiaspeed, "the
major points of the chassis have been greatly strengthened
with the purpose of maximising the rigidity of the
structure, while certain elements of the suspension such as
the wishbones have also been strengthened.
"Improvements have been made to optimise
the dynamic behaviour of the new car. The supports of the
rear wing have been redesigned and optimised. The power
steering is now stock-produced.
"The suspension now supports the gearbox, as well as the
bell housing between engine and gearbox, and both have been
maximised in potential in terms of weight and rigidity."
changes have seen the Italian firm focusing on improving
both the driveability and habitability of the new chassis,
now dubbed the DP3.
Attention has also been paid to making separation and
re-assembly of body components faster, while a host of minor
new alterations include such details as all-new new type of
battery, electric harness system, and driveshafts.
current Picchio SR2 prototype has seen widespread
action in sportscar racing during the last couple of
The front extractor has been redesigned as the firm's
engineers seek to optimise the effectiveness of the front
spoiler, which together with the side splitters, and
previously mentioned rear wing improvements, enhance the
aerodynamic package, and improve downforce. New rear air
intakes feature, while the car will now come with
'interchangeable' spoilers to take into account different
2005 car will feature a new, repositioned
front water radiator, new side air inlets which have been
designed for the oil radiators, while the aspiration louvers
have been improved to create better ventilation of the
cockpit and brakes," concludes Picchio's spokesperson.
Picchio, who are
also confident that this new car will be much prettier than
the original design, are now actively seeking a partner to
run the DP3.
continuing growth of interest in the Grand American
Sportscar Series for 'Daytona Prototypes', the Italian firm
has received interest from "many parties", both established
US teams, and potential European entrants who are attracted
by this new, cost-effective, sportscar racing class.
While the first
generation Picchio DP used a BMW engine, several other
powerplant options are now being tested, including a
Maserati engine, which has, according to the firm, provoked