The 37th edition of the Cesana-Sestriere Trofeo Giovanni Agnelli – or "CE-SE", as it is known in the world of historic racing – gets underway today at the start of a weekend of action. First run in 1961 it has grown into one of the key events of the international classic motor sports scene and is now also a round of the European and Italian Historic Hill Climb Championships.
Over 120 drivers will get to grips with the spectacular 10.4 km course, which climbs from 1,300m above sea level in Cesana Torinese, to 2,035 in Sestriere, both famous international winter and summer tourism destinations, over the next four days.
FCA Heritage, the Group’s department dedicated to promoting the historic legacy of FCA's Italian brands, will be at this major event – at which Alfa Romeo is this year's guest of honour – confirming its interest in this constantly growing sector, popular with all segments of contemporary society and a source of added value for the modern automotive industry.
During the event spectators will be able to enjoy a close look at two cars that usually reside at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese, namely a Giulia GTA from 1965 and a Giulia SS from two years earlier which will both be taking part as trail-blazers, together with the very latest production cars.
Complementing the two famous historic models, two current production Alfa Romeos, the Stelvio and Giulia, will also be on show at the Cesana - Sestriere.
Giulia Sprint Speciale (1963)
The Giulia Sprint Speciale was an evolution, with 1,600 cc twin camshaft engine, of the Giulietta version of the same name, designed by Franco Scaglione for the Bertone carriage-works on the car's short-wheelbase chassis.
It is regarded as one of his most beautiful creations: long and wide (actually larger than the sedan), the Giulietta Sprint Speciale is an extremely low, streamlined coupé with sleek, curvy lines.
The absence of bumpers and its large "shark mouth" radiator immediately gave it dream car status. But this sophisticated design was the outcome of meticulous aerodynamic research, which produced its low nose and distinctive cut-off rear.
Performance was impressive too as its 1570 cc longitudinal front engine delivered 113 hp and powered the Giulia SS to a top speed of 191 km/h.
Giulia GTA (1965)
Of all the Sixties Alfa Romeo models dearest to the hearts of the brand's fans, the Giulia Sprint GTA, an undisputed queen of the racing scene, enjoys a very special status. Its line is virtually identical to that of the standard production "GT" cars with bodywork by Bertone: the "A" in the name stands for "Alleggerita", or "Lightweight", pointing to its most significant difference from the standard Sprint GT.
The steel bodywork was replaced by ultra-light alloy panels and - thanks to the elimination of the anti-drum panels, the paring down of the equipment and the use of 14" magnesium wheels - this cut the car's weight by more than 200 kg, giving a total of 745 kg compared to the 950 kg of the road Sprint GT.
The 1570 cc twin camshaft engine was also modified to increase its power to 115 hp, for a top speed of over 185 km/h. The Museum's car still has a road setup, which differs from the Sprint GT in just a few details, including the simplified handles, the lighter badge, the front air inlets, the alloy wheels and the special interior.
Photos: FCA Heritage