Lot 141: Alba AR3-Cosworth
Founded in 1983 by former Osella chassis engineer, Giorgio Stirano, Alba Engineering was established in Moncalieri near Turin specifically to contest the C2 junior class of the World Endurance Championship. Built for Martino Finotto, who had made his fortune in pharmaceuticals, its first car, the AR2, was unusual in that it used a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, while power came from a 1.8 litre, four cylinder, turbocharged engine designed by Carlo Facetti; all up, it weighed just 707 kilos, just above the 700 kilo C2 minimum. A second AR2 was soon constructed which, with money not an issue, made extensive use of titanium components. Officially called Alba-Gianninis, the second part of the name referring to the engine manufacturer, as required under the regulations, the cars were such regular class winners during the 1983 and 1984 seasons, driven by Finotto, Facetti, Fulvio Ballabio and Guido Dacco, that the AR2 claimed the C2 World Endurance Championship title in both years. In 1984 Alba also built the AR3 model which differed only in being re-engineered to accept the Ford-Cosworth DFL 3.3 litre V8 power unit. With it, Alba finished second in class and fourteenth overall in that year's Silverstone 1,000 Km, in 1985 second in class and fifth overall in the Mosport 1000 Km, fifth in class and fifteenth overall in the Spa-Francorchamps 1000Km and second in class and seventh overall in the Selangor 800Km, and in 1986 sixth in class and fourteenth overall in the Brand Hatch 1000Km. Believed to have been originally owned by Gianpiero Morretti/Momo, this AR3, chassis 002, one of three examples built, is a veteran of three seasons in the World Endurance Championship, following its manufacture in 1984. That year saw it run in the 1000 Kilometre races at Silverstone, where it finished fourteenth in the hands of Maurizio Gellini/Pasquale Barberio/Mario Vatelli, and Hockenheim, where Barberio/Paulo Giangrossi/Gellini retired after 39 laps with engine problems. The following year it was driven in the Le Mans 24 Hours by Giangrossi/Barberio/Mario Radicella but electrical troubles saw it retire after five laps, while in the Mosport 1,000 Kilometres the car was not classified after Gellini/Barberio failed to cover sufficient distance after qualifying tenth. It ran at Le Mans once more in 1986 where engine problems again intervened, forcing Luigi Taverna/Tony Palma/Mario Vanoli into retirement after 74 laps. Notably, it is possible that this car is the one which was raced in IMSA events in America as the Alba Momo AR3-Ford during the 1984 and '85 seasons. As with all racing cars, there is some confusion regarding specific chassis/race records. AR3-002 underwent a full rebuild to the highest of standards in 2006, including a full engine build by Connaught Competition Engines and fitment of a new Premier fuel tank, a new Lifeline fire extinguisher system, new Willans seat harnesses and new Avon dry and wet weather tyres; in addition, all wheels were crack-tested and a certificate confirming this accompanies the car. Offered with a huge list of spares, which can be viewed at this auction, including a full carbon-fibre monocoque, carbon/Kevlar body panels and a titanium roll-cage, it comes complete with both British and German issued FIA papers. Presented in excellent condition, and with equally excellent provenance, this fully race-prepared Alba AR3-Cosworth could be highly competitive in the historic Group C/GTP racing series for which it is eminently eligible. Realistically priced and an opportunity most definitely not to be missed.
Auto Moto d'Epoca Padova|
Coys, Padova, Fiera di Padova, Hall 5B, Italy
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