The Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo went through an early-season shakedown at Vallelunga and Mugello. The car will star in the 2013 Maserati Trofeo MC World Series and the session saw ten drivers, all newcomers to the series, take to the track for the first time.
The car has been overhauled but has the same technical spec as the 2012 version, a season when significant aerodynamic regulations were introduced, the set up was tweaked with a widened track, and the overall weight reduced to 1380kg. All of the Maserati GranTurismo MCs are made track-ready by technicians who work to even out the cars’ performance levels and set up for each weekend of racing. Another carry-over from last season will be the powerful 4700cc V8 engine and the car’s Pirelli tyres.
Among the cars on the track was the Number 99, a figure that recalls the time since Maserati was established; in 2014 the company will celebrate its 100th birthday. The car’s base colour is blue, the same hue used on the MC12 when it dominated the FIA GT series, with a nod to the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale in the Bianco Perla coloring.
The championship will kick off at Paul Ricard, in France, on 28 April. Before that, on 14 April, the official test session will be run at Misano. The legendary circuit of Nuerburgring, Germany, is scheduled for 2 June with Silverstone, on 14 July, marking the halfway point in the season. The English weekend will also see the season’s first title awarded: the Trofeo Europa. Last year the crown was won by Belgian driver Renaud Kuppens, who also went on to take the overall title.
Round four will be held at Sonoma (California), USA. The circuit is situated not far from San Francisco and will be the first stage held outside Europe. Next up will be Asia, on 3 November, and the circuit of Shanghai, China. This was the scene of last year’s closing Trofeo Maserati race but this time round the curtain will come down at Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, on 14 December. This will not be the first time that the Middle East has hosted a Trofeo series as the Maserati Trofeo JBF Rak was run there from December 2011 to March 2012.
To date, around fifteen teams have signed up for the series and the aim is to top twenty. Another objective is to maintain the championship’s international flavour given that 84 drivers from 24 countries took part in 2012.
This season, each round will see the running of two 45’ practice sessions and two official qualifying sessions lasting 20’ each. There will also be two 30’ races and one lasting 50’ with a compulsory pit stop for crewed cars; last year this longer format was only run at some of the meets.
To make things even more exciting and to balance things out on the track, a new handicap rule will come into play for the quickest drivers: the drivers who place in the top five in the first two races in each round (determined by totting up the results) will have to pit for more than the obligatory 45-seconds in Race 3. This added time will range from 5 seconds for the fifth-placed driver to 20 seconds for the driver in top spot.
The Trofeo package allows drivers to compete on their own or as part of a private team that fields its own 2010, 2012 or 2012 version of the car. This car must meet all the technical regulations laid down by Maserati. The all-inclusive cost for the ‘world’ races (1 test and 6 rounds) is €120,000 net of tax. The cost of participation in the first round, at Paul Ricard (including the Misano session) is €30,000 net of tax. The Trofeo Europa (Paul Ricard, Nuerburgring and Silverstone, as well as the Misano test session) is €70,000.