As the Maserati Trofeo motor-racing series comes to Brands Hatch this weekend, we take a look at this unique concept in fly-drive motor-racing
The Maserati Trofeo single-marque race series is back, with a newer, faster car and a whole new way to go racing. When the Trofeo series launched in 2003 it became the first “fly-drive” racing experience. The idea is that non-professionals can participate in a prestigious international race series, but without the necessity of owning the car or dealing with the mechanical and logistical support. Maserati supply the car, a 450hp Trofeo GranTurismo MC, deal with the technical support, transport the car to the race tracks, supply the mechanics and ensure that all the driver has to do is turn up and race.
Back for 2010, the concept has been refined to include a more comprehensive race weekend, not just for the drivers but also for their friends, family and guests. At each round there will be the Maserati Lounge, an oasis of peace and tranquillity amongst the noise and smells of the race paddock, where drivers, friends and sponsors can soak up the experience.
The race car, a Maserati Trofeo GranTurismo MC, is based on the GranTurismo S road car, but with a few significant modifications to adapt it for track use. Power output from the 4.7-litre V8 is up to 450hp thanks to some remapping of the ECU, a racing air filter and a race exhaust — more than enough power to guarantee some close and exciting racing.
The modifications applied to the standard road car by the designers at the Maserati Design Centre include improved aerodynamics (while maintaining the classic Pininfarina styling). There has been some dramatic weight saving by stripping out the normally luxurious interior and replacing certain items with carbon-fibre versions. Reliability, synonymous with Maserati ownership, should be maintained as the car keeps the original design for the engine, gearbox and transmission.
This unique concept in motor-racing is attracting a lot of attention, and a number of gentleman racers and pop stars have taken the opportunity to get behind the wheel of this gorgeous Italian thoroughbred and experience the thrill and excitement of high-octane motor racing, but without the complications involved in running your own race team.
The Maserati Trofeo series runs alongside the World Touring Car Championships, one of the most popular race series on the international race calendar. The first two rounds were at Monza and Zolder, and now the championship moves to Brands Hatch in the UK this weekend. Next on the calendar is Brno in the Czech Republic on July 31/Aug 1, Oschersleben in Germany on September 4/5, Valencia in Spain on September 18/19, and Mugello in Italy on October 9/10.
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