A long time ago, when Enzo Ferrari was still alive and stepping on people’s toes, a good chunk of his engineering team departed the Prancing Horse to form Automobili Turismo e Sport. The company, ATS for short, was formed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, among others – intending for it to be a direct competitor to Ferrari both on the race track and on the street. Chiti and Bizzarrini built, with sponsorship from the Scuderia Serenissima’s Count Giovanni Volpi, a road-going sports car and a Formula One racing car.
The sports car was the ATS 2500 GT, a small sportscoupé developed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini with a Franco Scaglione (ex-Bertone) designed bodywork built by Carrozzeria Allemano. Apart from being the second mid-engine sports cars (the René-Bonnet / Matra Djet was presented five months earlier at the Salon de l’Autombile in Paris, France), the 2500 GT never gained fame or popularity, but its 90 degree DOHC V8 with a flatplane crankshaft was later developed into Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 engine in 2 L, 2.5 L and 3 L formats by Carlo Chiti at Autodelta. Both were technologically advanced for their time, but a commercial flop with only 12 produced in total between 1963 and 1965.
After the demise of ATS, Giotto Bizzarrini moved to Lamborghini before building his own cars as Bizzarrini, while Chiti founded Autodelta together with fellow ex-Ferrari engineer Lodovico Chizzola, which would work closely with Alfa Romeo for the following decades. Count Volpi subsequently backed the Serenissima marque which used much technology similar to ATS. Bruce McLaren used a Serenissima engine for a few Grands Prix in 1966.
In 2012, 50 years later, ATS, the new owner, Daniele Maritan began to build new cars. Since its rebirth, the Italian carmaker has brought us exciting modern cars like the track-ready ATS Sport 1000, the ATS Leggera, early 2014 the very beautiful sporty-looking ATS 2500, and in 2018 the beatiful GT which are both throwbacks to this brand’s roots. While the Sport, 2500 GT and GT are reimagined versions of the original cars.
The beautiful GT was styled by Emanuele Bomboi, formerly of Fiat and later design director of Bertone, and ATS says it offers a ‘timeless yet striking design, evoking the brand’s past while reflecting its very contemporary performance’. It isn’t hard to see the resemblance to the 1963 car, the new GT takes on many contemporary supercar design cues, including a low front scuttle and highlighted accent line running along the side of the glasshouse. The devil-may-care approach to exterior design carries over to the rear end, which combines the aesthetic qualities of old Italian supercars with modern styling motifs.
Now ATS will finally return to the motorsport world with the new Corsa RR Turbo, a racer designed to go easy on a team’s budget. A race car dedicated to customer racing teams doing business across Europe and elsewhere. Built as ‘the balance point between low costs and high performance’, the car has been confirmed for production and delivery by the end of summer.
Weighing in at just 800 kg (1,763 lb) and moved along by the power of 600 horses, the racer is capable of competing in a variety of FIA-sanctioned racing series, from Endurance to Hill Climb and Time Attack. Also, the company is even eying the formation of a single-brand championship sometime in the future.
During the past months the Racing department of ATS Automobili has carried out severe reliability and performance tests that improved the RR Turbo’s qualities. Suitable for all those professional or gentlemen drivers who are looking for an adaptable and effective racing car, the RR Turbo will be eligible to race internationally with the FIA homologation Appendix J Group E2 SH.
Daniele Martin, President ATS Automobili Italia
The new racer can be ordered with several optional extras, such as a full carbon fiber body work, carbon-ceramic brakes with 4-piston titanium calipers instead of the standard Brembo set, three-way adjustable suspension, forged wheels, quick-lift air jack system and others. Tractive Adjustable electronic shock absorbers for the pushrod and pull rod suspension, traction control, assisted gearshifts and so on are also available.
ATS will make two variants of the Corsa Turbo RR available, Clubsport and Serie Carbonio. The former, priced at €132,000 ($146,000) allows customer customization, while the latter is offered for €164,900 ($182,000) as a complete, race-ready machine, but the model’s bespoke nature means that the cost can grow quickly. It’s a lot of money for most of us, but it is not expensive, compared to other cars supercars. And believe me, ATS sportscars are far more exclusive.
Both the ATS Corsa Turbo RR Clubsport and Serie Carbonio come equipped with a full carbon fiber body, a carbo-ceramic braking system, forged wheels, three-way adjustable suspension, high downforce bi-plane rear carbon spoiler, and the quick-lift air jack system to be used on times of need.
The Italian Automobili Turismo e Sport will build 30 cars each year, featuring FIA homologation for racing series, endurance championships and hill climbs, including the VLN Nurburgring, GT Light Class, British Hill Climb Championship, WERC series, Trans Am, SCCA Hill Climb, Formula X Italian Series, UK Dunlop Endurance Championship and many others. Come into the wonderful world of ATS.