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  Maserati MC12 Corse      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:2004 - 2005
Numbers built:12
Introduced at:2004 Geneva Motor Show
Internal name:M144
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 11, 2013
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMotorsport forms the heart of Maserati's heritage, as for over thirty years building racing cars was the core business for the Italian company. The few road cars produced were very closely related to the racing cars and were built solely to fund the Works racing program. Towards the end of the 1950s Maserati broke with tradition and since then only a handful of racing cars and engines were constructed. The switch has brought mixed fortunes for Maserati and in the 1980s and 1990s, the company struggled to survive. At the end of the 1990s, the company was sold to longtime rival Ferrari. Since then Maserati has steadily recovered and with the company's heritage in mind it was not a complete surprise that a return to level racing was announced in 2004.

With Ferrari clearly involved in Formula 1 and a high tech prototype racer probably too big of a step, Maserati opted to enter GT-racing. Unfortunately there was not a car in the range, which would be an ideal candidate to go racing with, so Maserati turned to Ferrari for some assistance. They were happy to help out and allowed Maserati to use the Enzo chassis and drivetrain as a basis for the new racer. To homologate the car for the GT1 class at least 25 examples a year for two years had to be produced. With a booming market for high performance cars, this did not seem to be a problem, so work was started on the Enzo based road car and racing car. Originally known as the MCC, both versions were planned to be launched at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show.

Pininfarina was employed to create a body that would be better suited to racing and did not rely as much on underbody aerodynamics as the Enzo's did. All seemed to be going well, but then the design and publicity departments made some major mistakes, almost ending the car's racing career before it had even begun. The designers made the car wider than the two metre specified in the regulations and the publicity department released images of the racing car long before coming up with photos of the road car. The former could potentially be fixed, but the latter mistake (rightly) gave the sport's governing bodies the impression that the new car was developed as a racing car first. Especially the Le Mans organizers, the ACO, did not take kindly to that.

At the Geneva launch, the wraps were taken off the road car and the official name, MC12, for the first time. The Maserati's shape was distinctly different from that of the Enzo and the road car sported a detachable targa roof. It quickly became clear that the other competitors, the FIA and the ACO would not make an exception for Maserati; the MC12 was too wide and also not built to the spirit of the regulations. Eventually the FIA caved in and allowed Maserati to enter the MC12 in the FIA GT Championship, but under the condition that it ran with a smaller rear wing and a weight penalty. With full factory support, two cars were entered in the final four rounds of the 2004 season by AF Corse. Despite the penalties, the MC12 proved to be a worthy competitor, scoring two wins and second place finishes in the other two rounds.

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  Article Image gallery (199) Chassis (8) Specifications User Comments (1)