Production Fabia vs racing Fabia – what’s the difference?
Customers can buy the fourth-generation Fabia in the stylish and sporty Monte Carlo version shown here in the photos, for example. And professional rally drivers can get the all-new Fabia RS Rally2 from Škoda Motorsport.
The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 is at first sight very different from the production Fabia, even the Monte Carlo version.
That’s one of the things the production and racing models have in common – you can become the proud owner of both. Only the price is different. While the Fabia Monte Carlo is one of the most affordable Škoda cars, at more than ten times the price the Fabia RS Rally2 is the most expensive thing you can buy from the Czech carmaker. But despite the price difference, the two cars have a lot in common.
Undeniable family resemblance
One clear link between the two models is the body design and structure. “The rules are strict and require that the rally car’s bodywork is identical to the production car’s. The only exception to this is the ability to extend the car with fenders and bumpers. We can add spoilers and we can build a tunnel for the 4 × 4 drive into the floor,” explains Aleš Rada, head of Race Car Engineering at Škoda Motorsport. The rally car benefits from the rigid bodywork of the production type, which puts both cars among the top safety performers in their category.
“The development of a new model always gives us the opportunity to use some of the features of a production car,” explains Rada. So what has the new Fabia RS Rally2 taken from the production model, apart from its basic construction and shape? It has the same longer wheelbase as the previous generation and is wider, which makes for an improved centre of gravity. The Fabia RS Rally2 also benefits from the production model’s excellent aerodynamics, although the larger dimensions have also given the car a bigger front area. In addition to the bumpers, the rally version has different mirrors. The racing car also has other specific features, such as the mandatory bonnet locks, “roof ventilation” to channel air into the interior, polycarbonate side windows and other details. The wheels are also different, with teams choosing a specific set to suit the conditions of the particular rally.
Completely overhauled interior
While on the outside there is considerable similarity between the racing and production versions of the Fabia, on the inside it would be hard to guess they are related. Although the basic position of the dashboard, for example, is essentially identical due to the construction of both cars, the kit inside the cars is completely different, of course.
In the racing car, the robust safety frame protecting the crew plays a central role. And although the Monte Carlo’s mass-produced seats have substantial lateral movement and integrated head restraints, the racing seats are much more radical in this respect and are fitted with the mandatory six-point seatbelts.
There are also big differences in the instrumentation, handbrake lever position and pedal assembly. While the Fabia Monte Carlo provides comfort for its driver and passengers, the Fabia RS Rally2 subordinates everything to performance and low weight. Yet some details remain in place, such as the door handles or the logo on the steering wheel. This, by the way, has one very important function:
Changes under the bonnet and elsewhere
There is a world of difference between what you find beneath the two cars’ outer shells, even though the racing car’s engine must be based on a mass-produced unit. “All the chassis parts come completely from our own development work – they have nothing to do with the series model,” says Aleš Rada. The rally car’s front and rear axles must be McPherson-type axles. The production version has this kind of axle only at the front, while the rear is a trailing arm suspension axle.
The brakes are also different, although both cars have disc brakes on both axles. The transmission is also the product of Škoda Motorsport’s own development. Incidentally, the transmission system allows the rally car to reach top speeds of around 200 km/h, so the mass-produced Fabia Monte Carlo fitted with the most powerful 1.5 TSI (110 kW) unit on offer can actually go faster (top speed of 222 km/h). On the other hand, with its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, all-wheel drive and 214 kW of power the rally car has much quicker acceleration.
You can also read our interview with Aleš Rada about the differences between the production Škoda Fabia and the rally version.