Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and their new company cars.Enlarge Photo
It’s a long-standing Formula 1 tradition that drivers are given (or leased, for very low rates) automobiles representing the brands they race for. Sebastian Vettel, for example, drives an Infiniti FX50
, while Fernando Alonso drives a Maserati GranTurismo convertible
Or, more accurately, Alonso drove a Maserati GranTurismo. We’re betting that his current ride of choice is the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
presented to both Alonso and teammate Felipe Massa by Beth Paretta, director of marketing and operations for the SRT brand.
If you’re puzzled by why Ferrari drivers are being presented with Jeeps, it all ties back to Fiat. The Italian auto giant is the parent of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, SRT, Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Abarth and Alfa Romeo.
The Jeep SRT8s presented to the Ferrari team drivers aren’t off-the-shelf versions, either. Each is sprayed in Ferrari’s signature Rosso Corsa paint, and trimmed with an offset black racing stripe. The roof is finished in matte black, and an italian flag is painted underneath the rear spoiler, as on the F150th Ferrari F1 car.
To improve handling, the ride height on these custom SRT8s has been dropped by 1.5 inches, and each gets a set of black-painted 20-inch wheels.
Inside, the seats are finished in Ferrari Red leather, as are the door panels, armrest and instrument panel. The steering wheel gets red accent stitching, and the gauge faces are done in Maranello Yellow to match Ferrari’s GT cars.
Under the hood, Alonso and Massa will have to make due with the stock 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, which puts out 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough to get the plus-sized SUV from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 160 mph. Not bad for an all-wheel-drive grocery-getter.
The pair of Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8s
are the first delivered in Europe, and the SUV goes on sale to European customers this summer.