As Maserati continues its preparations for next year’s return to competitive motorsport, testing has started in Italy of a racing version of the new Maserati Coupé.
The first two test sessions of the new ‘Trofeo’ version of the Maserati Coupé Cambiocorsa were carried out at the company’s Fiorano Circuit in Maranello, with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s chief test driver, Luciano Burti, at the wheel.
Incorporating a series of developments for the race track, including uprated spring and damper ratings, racing bucket seat, full safety roll cage, larger wheels and tyres and a specially modified engine management unit, the Trofeo Maserati completed 50 laps in its first test session, achieving a best time of one minute 26.605 seconds.
After his first test session, Burti reported: "We have been working step by step on the car, testing different solutions and new features, like the rear wing, without any problems at all. We are only at the beginning of the development of this car, but we are very satisfied with the job we are doing so far."
In the second test session, Burti continued development work on the car, watched by Company President Luca di Montezemolo, who also drove the vehicle himself. In 65 trouble-free laps, Burti achieved a best time of 1.25.093.
After the second test, Burti commented: "I am very happy to have been able to try the Maserati Cambiocorsa Trofeo. The car has great brakes, good road holding and is handy to drive. The outcome of the past two days of testing is definitely very positive. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do, which is what one would expect at this stage, but the Maserati engineers know exactly what is now required."
These tests mark the start of a programme that will see the marque return to the race track during next year. In 2003, the ‘Trofeo Maserati’ racing series will commence, taking in seven rounds of racing at the most important race circuits in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Development tests of the Maserati Cambiocorsa Trofeo will resume next week, when Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s other test driver, Luca Badoer will also spend time behind the wheel. The car will be seen in public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show in September.
The new Maserati Coupé, on which the Trofeo is based, went on sale in the UK last month. It continues the successful concept of the high performance GT car – a unique combination of performance and roominess for four people while offering new levels of technology and sportiness for customers.
The four seat Coupé features an all-new 4.2-litre V8 normally aspirated engine, which provides record performance for a Maserati with a top speed of 177 mph (285 km/h) and a zero to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) acceleration time of just 4.9 seconds. The new Coupé, which is now available through Maserati’s 15 UK dealers, is priced at £59,950 for the GT version and £62,950 for the Cambiocorsa (racing gearbox) electronic transmission model.Published 5 July 2002