Maserati at the 24 hours of Nürburgring
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14th May, 2006
Maserati has announced that it will participate in the next "24 Hours of Nürburgring", which will be held on 17th June, at the legendary Nordschleife track.
Two cars will be fielded by the "Maserati R&D Factory Team": a GranSport "Laboratorio" and a GranSport "Trofeo". They will compete in the "DMSB E1XP" and the "24h Special" respectively.
Andrea Bertolini, Michael Bartels, Eric Van de Poele and Gianni Giudici will share the drive in the GranSport "Laboratorio".
In the GranSport "Trofeo" will be Jacques Laffite, Patrick Hong and Richard Meaden. Along with them will, once again, be Gianni Giudici (at Nürburgring it is possible to race in two cars). The impressive sporting CV of Laffite includes a Ligier-Maserati drive on the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1974.
The "Laboratorio" car is based on the GranSport GT3 and features technical evolutions developed by the "Maserati R&D Factory Team", headed by Giorgio Ascanelli. These developments will be put to a very tough test in 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
The GranSport Trofeo is derived from the model that competes in the Trofeo Maserati Audemars Piguet Europe. Very small modifications have been made to prepare the car for an endurance race, such as strengthening the suspension and adapting the fuel supply and refuelling systems.
With the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, Maserati continues its long tradition of participating in endurance races: this culture is based on the desire to compete and represent the marque in top "long distance" events, to highlight the quality, reliability and performance of the Trident products.
Claudio Berro, Director of Maserati Corse, stated that: "The setting up of the "R&D Factory Team" is proof that Maserati is trying to test in race conditions the most innovative technologies to be applied on future models."
"The GranSport Laboratorio – commented Maserati's technical director, Giorgio Ascanelli - "was developed using the GranSport GT3 as a base. Some changes have been made to bring it into line with DMSB-24 Hours of Nürburgring regulations. It was created in just a few months thanks to the cutting edge planning system and the vast experience gained in GT competition. The GranSport Trofeo, on the other hand, is very close to the standard model and in such a kind of race it will go through a tough challenge. However, this is what Maserati is looking for."
Maserati's success in endurance races began in 1939 with a win in the 500 Miles of Indianapolis with the 8CTF with Wilbur Shaw behind the wheel. The win was repeated the following year. Curiously, it was at Nürburgring that Maserati scored some of the most important wins in its history: three victories in the demanding 1,000 kilometres (1956, 1960 and 1961). Moss-Behra-Taruffi-Schell (300S), Moss-Gurney ('Birdcage' Type 61), Gregory-Cassner ('Birdcage' Type 61) were the triumphant crews.
Since 2004, Maserati has appeared in many famous endurance events. There have been victories at the 24 Hours of Spa, with Michael Bartels-Timo Scheider-Eric Van de Poele in the MC12 (Vitaphone Racing Team), and in the 6 Hours of Vallelunga, with the MC12 driven by Davide Mastracci-Leonardo Maddalena-Michele Serafini (team Racing Box). The 8th place in their class was also secured at Spa by the Maserati Trofeo Light presented by Gianni Giudici-Diego Romanini-Enzo Raimondi.
There have been good results in the United States too. At the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2005, Andrea Bertolini-Fabrizio De Simone-Fabio Babini took 5th place in GT1 class on board a factory-fielded MC12. The 2004 Daytona 24 Hour witnessed the return of a Trident car to an international endurance competition, with Matteo Bobbi-Ralf Kelleners-Anthony Lazzaro's Maserati Trofeo Light (team Risi Competizione) finishing the race in 11th position in the GT category.
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