Maserati Trofeo Champion 2012 Review
With the Trofeo World Series entering their third edition it appears that the rules of the competition have slightly changed and the championship features a new race format. However that's not everything that has undergone some changes this year and the Maserati GranTurismo / Maserati Trofeo race car has also been upgraded for this year's competition.
The modifications brought to the racing car are mostly in the aerodynamic department but the racing beast has also lost some weight. The results are pretty amazing and it proved to make the GranTurismo a.k.a Trofeo two and a half seconds faster than the car from last year on a lap of the Vallelunga circuit located near Rome. The racing car is motivated by the same 4.7 liter V8 power plant found in the road-going version but it's 300 kg lighter as well.
This lightness has been achieved by replacing all the panels with ones made from composite and the glass has also been replaced by polycarbonate. The doors have also been replaced by ultra-light carbon fiber ones and inside the racing car seems pretty much stripped out. That's pretty much expected, but the results are fantastic.
The dashboard has been modified but the upper part and the Maserati clock has remained unchanged. Funnily enough, unlike the models from the previous years, this year's Trofeo has a clock that is actually working. Other than that you'll find a high-tech dash and data logger, a safety cage and a central switch panel.
Driving experience has been improved not only due to aerodynamics and weight reduction but also because both the ABS and the traction control have been removed so you get a very "organic" feel when you get to drive the Trofeo. It's a proper race car and it requires a lot of skill to drive.
Another interesting fact about this year's championship is that despite the fact that during the past couple of years the competition was held almost exclusively in the Middle East ad in Europe, this year the competitors will also race on the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma California, as well as the Shanghai International Circuit.
The entry fees for this year's competition are:
- 110.000 Euros + VAT for the World Championship (1 test + 6 races)
- 70.000 Euros + VAT for the European Championship (4 races)
- 15.000 Euros + VAT for a Test race (applicable only one time)
Fees for private teams and car’s owners are:
- 35.000 Euros + VAT for the World Team Championship (6 races)
- 25.000 Euros + VAT for the European Team Championship (4 races)
Renaud Kuppens, from Konvex Motorsport, has been crowned European Maserati Trofeo champion. The Belgian came out on top after the dust had settled on the fourth round, held at the French circuit of Paul Ricard.
Kuppens’ second spot in Race 1 was enough to see him across the line, and, even though he was forced to retire from Race 2, he still tops the Overall standings in the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series. This round sees the European stages come to an end; the scene now shifts to the United States and China.
Sharing the limelight with Kuppens were Sernagiotto and Andrea Dromedari, winners of Race 1 and 2, respectively.
Sernagiatto’s morning win was only in doubt towards the end when Cedric Sbirrazzuoli (AF Corse) very nearly caught him. Sbirrazzuoli’s victory bid was put to bed on lap 12 after he tried to get round Sernagiotto, who was slowing down to ease past Nicolucci, a back marker. Sbirrazzuoli and Nicolucci ended up clashing with the AF Corse driver coming off worse. The way was now clear for Renaud Kuppens and Alan Simoni to make second and third their one. Sernagiotto’s win fuelled his partner’s (Giuseppe Fascicolo) thoughts of taking the European title in Race 2. When Kuppens pulled out early on, things seemed to be going the Italian’s way but, in the end, he could do no better than finish fifth.
The second race of the day was more exciting with the win eventually being taken by Andrea Dromedari (Swiss Team). Chasing the podium slots for much of the race were Riccardo Ragazzi, Fabio Venier, Riccardo Romagnoli and Ange Barde (four-time winner of the European Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli). When the curtain came down it was Ragazzi and Venier who took the runners-up spots behind the Swiss Team driver. Barde, who had crossed the line second, was hit with a 45-second penalty that saw him relegated to 11th. The decision to slap him with the penalty came after he failed to complete a drive through for clashing with Romagnoli.
Konvex Motorsport’s Kuppens and Daniel Waszczinski now hold the lead in the Team series from Dromedari and Pigoli (Swiss Team). In the Trofeo, Simoni and Ragazzi head Sernagiotto/Fascicolo and Venier/Gardelli.
The two guest drivers in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP car had a varied time of it: Christian Gebhardt, the German journalist from Auto Sport magazine, retired from Race 1 on lap 14 when in seventh while his Japanese team mate, Shinichi Katsura from Genroq magazine, finished Race 2 in tenth.
The Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo that will appear in the United States was unveiled during the weekend. The car’s special livery celebrates the next round in Maserati’s single-make series, one programmed for 23 September at Infineon, in Sonoma. The grand finale will be held on 4 November in Shanghai, China. These two final events round off the series in a truly global way.
Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Motorsport): “Obviously, I am very pleased at my success despite retiring from Race 2. I would have preferred to have celebrated by crossing the line after going at it with my rivals. Looking back over the season, I would have to say that things didn’t start out well: the wrong choice of tyres at Jarama saw me lose a few places; in round two, at Portimao, a win in the endurance event brought me back into the championship reckoning and at Imola a series of three solid results gave me the lead. Now I am looking to winning the world title. The competition will be tough but my objectives will not change. I would like to highlight how professional the set up is in the Maserati Trofeo. The level of organisation is like nothing else I have experienced in my career”.