Maserati has presented to the FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile) the 25 x MC12 road versions, ready to be delivered to customers, alongside three racing models: the one unveiled at the Geneva Show and the 2 x actual cars racing their debuts this weekend at Imola for AF Corse.
Maserati is making a very welcome return to racing and, in the process, to its
very earliest roots. In fact, it was Maserati’s enormous success in races,
courtesy of some legendary drivers and an insatiable thirst for innovation, that
helped created the legend of the Trident marque. A F1 World title in 1957 was
delivered by Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of the magnificent 250 F. The same
model that helped the Argentinian to win another title in 1954.
The last victory its last came long after Maserati official retirement from racing at the end of '57, courtesy of Cooper in 1967 (F1 South African GP, driver Pedro Rodriguez, 12-cylinder Cooper-Maserati). The Trident’s most glittering triumphs in the sports prototype category, however, have to be its Targa Florio, Buenos Aires 1000 Km and Nürburgring victories. Wilbur Shaw’s two wins in the Indy 500 (1939-1940) at the wheel of the 8CTF, also have a very special place in the Trident story.
Martin Leach (Maserati CEO) has declared: "The history of Maserati is one of sporting success, splendid and fascinating automobiles and exclusive clients. We have completed the series of 25 MC12 roadcars and they are ready for delivery to the clients and the track cars in which we will make our racing return to an international championship are being prepared. For us then, it is an important historic moment".
The same concept has been underlined by Claudio Berro (Director Maserati Corse): "It is an exciting moment as it marks the return of a great automobile manufacturer to competition after a gap of thirty years. All the cars have been completed and selected and so all that remains is for the track to give its verdict. We believe that we have worked well over the past two years".
From the technical point of view, Giorgio Ascanelli (Technical Director Maserati Corse) explains: "The race version is derived from the road version of the MC12, with a close eye kept on performance and costs. We would like our future clients to possess an easily manageable car with great performance and good reliability".
The drivers are very confident: "The road going car and the race spec car are very similar" says Andrea Bertolini. “The MC12 is a very easy vehicle to drive and one in which it is easy to find the limit. We work well with Mika Salo. We completed the last three tests together and, most significantly, we give the technicians similar feedback on the car".
The Finnish driver agrees: "It’s quite exciting. It’s has been a very busy testing and I think we should be ready for the race. It’s a very confortable car to drive, very good balanced, very comfortable especially for the long run".
The other duo is formed by Johnny Herbert and Fabrizio De Simone. "I am more than satisfied" says Herbert, "because we signed the agreement a few days ago and the first test at Mugello went extremely well. The MC12 is a pleasant car to drive. Comfort is very important in races of this type. A car has to be set up in two specific ways for two different drivers and I think that the perfect combination has been found".
The same impression of Fabrizio de Simone: "The first sensation is that the MC12 is an extremely precise and reliable car to drive. What I found was that it was easy to establish the right feeling with this car. The car is an exceptional one to drive".