To many of us, speeding around a track with instruction from a professional driver sounds like a dream come true. At the wheel of a 2012 FIAT 500 Abarth? Even better. Now, FIAT is offering exactly that to some of their lucky Facebook fans with the “Drive For The Fans” contest that kicks off this week.
Drive For The Fans is a kick-off event for the turbocharged, 160-horsepower 500 Abarth that will pit five teams of four drivers each against each other in a series of driving competitions. The teams are made up of one automotive blogger, one lifestyle blogger, one pro driver and one Facebook fan each.
This in itself is not a new concept, as automakers will often invite large groups of media to test new cars when they’re about to launch. But FIAT has taken it one step further, by allowing their Facebook fans to visit a special Drive For The Fans tab and choose their favorite team. If your team wins, you could be selected to participate in one of six FIAT Abarth Driving Experience events across the country.
“Every FIAT 500 Abarth owner will have the opportunity to attend an ‘Abarth Driving Experience’ at six locations across the country throughout the year,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC, in a press release.
“We wanted to provide our loyal Facebook fans with a similar opportunity so they can enjoy first-hand the ‘small but wicked’ spirit of our FIAT 500 Abarth while also enhancing their driving skills.”
After 27 years, FIAT made its return to the United States market just over one year ago with sales of their 500 sedan. Since then, they’ve quickly developed a media savvy and fan-friendly reputation (a steamy Super Bowl commercial sure didn’t hurt), sales of the 500 hit a record high in March and initial reliability concerns seem to have been eased.
Drive For The Fans is an innovative way to connect online fans to their real-world products, and it will be interesting to see whether competing automakers begin to take note.
Fans must choose a team by Thursday, April 26, the day of the event. The contest tab can also be used to monitor each team’s running score.