Thursday, May 28, 2009
As previously reported, during the afternoon at Adria, I met a couple of members of the Maserati Corse crew.
I didn't see a couple of races while talking to them, but it was worth it.
Some news came out from the unofficial “meeting”, like:
the GranTurismo S equipped with the MC Line accessories line, including stiffer suspensions and other mechanical bits, lapped the famous Nurburgring in less than 8 minutes, setting a time just 3 seconds slower than the F430 Coupe.
I don't want to raise another epic battle on 'Ring times, but it's quite an achievement for the car, and they are quite happy about this too.
Worth to be noted, the car was in “endurance” mode too, which means the car was a mule testing components, not seeking the lap record, and carrying over an additional 80 kg for simulating a second driver, plus the usual roll cage for the driver. Hence the reason why this is an achievement, not just a lap time.
This white GranTurismo S is the daily drive of Andrea Bertolini, Maserati's official diver and tester.
The car features some options from the upcoming MC Line, while other are custom made for this unit.
Previously, he used to drive a GranSport equipped with two superchargers by Novitec, for a total of 600 bhp. He loved that car.
Also, it came out back in 2003 or 2004 they were developing a never released two seater versions of the GranSport, further lightened and stiffened. It happened that at the first lap at the Nurburgring, the car set a promising 8:15 whit half the circuit being wet and the other half being humid, while the at the time new (probably still to be unveiled and going under testing) F430 had set a best time of 8:18 or so up to that moment, with a dry lap-
Unfortunately the car never saw the green light, and Mr. B was quite disappointed about that.
Basically the main problem with Maserati is Ferrari.
Being aware Ferrari saved Maserati, it's also avoiding it to express it's whole potential, in order not to have inner conflict.
It's a wise decision for sure, but at the same time it is sad to see the potential of cars like the GranTurismo or the 8C Competizione being mitigated by the fear of overshadowing the F430 and other red cars.
Even the MC12 was actually much faster and even technologically advanced than the Enzo, but it couldn't be stated officially. So in the end the Maserati was officially less powerful, but actually more of the Enzo, and they never bothered saying the MC12 was an evolution of the Enzo, rather than a modified one to comply with GT rules.
They even never stressed enough in my opinion that if the road version seemed a bit uninspiring and not really entertaining to drive, it was just because the car was designed with just one aim in mind: dominating GT championships.
Just to give a hint of the real heritage and potential of the MC12, it could be said, being mostly right, the MC12 is more similar to an FXX rather than to an Enzo.
You can get a good idea of what they are capable considering the performance of the Quattroporte mkV. Back in 2005, a Quattroporte Sport, that's to see little more than revised suspensions, with the powetrain untouched (perhaps a sportier setting of the electro-actuated manual transmission) , managed to set a time faster than that of cars like the BMW M5, the Alpine B5 or the Cadillac CTS-V (old gen) on the at the Bedford Autodrome.
Now consider it's 150 kg heavier and 100 bhp less pwoerful than the M5, still it was faster by a good 1,6 seconds. Let's even suppose the driver forgot to press the Sport button on the M5, leaving it with just 400 bhp rather than 507. The two cars would have the same power, but with the Italian still being heavier. A lot of discussion has been rasied because the two cars were tested in two different moments. Fine. Perhaps the QP could have been even faster, and even setting an equal time would be a striking result in my book.
I don't know if they are still considering the idea, but they were trying to find a way to fit the 612's V12 in the Quattroporte front as a final special edition, back in October, 2008.
Now that would be overkill perhaps, but so Italian too...
Mr. M also was pretty interested in the GT4 cars that had just finished the race. He sent me and my mate to get some shots of interesting details mainly from the BMW M3. Perhaps something to apply to the GranTurismo MC GT4 could have been found, despite the project being already finished with the car looking for testing and minor improvements before of the race debut sometimes at the end of the year.
The main part now is designing the production of the scheduled 40 units.
On a final note, not coming out of the Adria's meeting, the project for the new Quattroporte mkVI has just begun. The car will be based on the next Ferrari 612 platform, which in turn is based on the present California.
So eventually Maserati is switching to aluminum. Let's see what will come out, I'll keep you informed. Expect the car to be ready in a couple of years.
Oh, and today the internal and private unveiling of the GranTurismo Spider has been made at Maserati. Once again, the car uses a soft top as the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider. But you can still believe to all the rumors on the web calling for an hard top. ;)
Extra shots of the Maserati Vitaphone box before of the qualifying session.
The almighty MC12 is ready to bite.
If everything goes right, three MC12s will take part at this year 24h of Spa!
All images Copyright: Damiano Garro