The picture of the teams who will appear in the 2016 Maserati GranTurismo MC is taking shape. For the past six seasons, the cars have turned out in the Maserati Trofeo, a series that ended at Abu Dhabi (UAE) last December.
The vehicles have now been purchased by private drivers and teams before being modified to bring them in line with GT4 regulations. The main stages on which the cars will appear next season include the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), in North America, the Competition102 GT4 European Series, the Euroseries by Nova Race as well as national GT championships.
The first date on the calendar is 28/29 February at the Paul Ricard – Le Castellet circuit, France. The two-day session is organised by SRO, the official promoter, and will see the Balance of Performance (BoP) take place to define the GT4 cars' technical spec for the upcoming season.
The Squadre Clienti Maserati that will definitely appear in Europe, mainly in the Competition102 GT4 European Series, are Villorba Corse and Swiss Team. Scuderia Giudici is still deciding which series to enter while English outfit Ebor GT will compete in the British GT. Alongside these teams will be other, private, drivers who purchased a car and will line up for the occasional GT4 event, in one or more series.
Maserati will ensure technical support and trackside spares, both in Europe and the USA. This will give the teams the chance to compete on a level playing field.
The GranTurismo MC GT4 itself is pretty much unchanged compared to the Trofeo version: a 4.700cc V8 engine, an electro-actuated transmission featuring paddle-shift commands, and a dry weight of 1410 kg. The main modifications have been the addition of an air duct to reduce the engine's power by 35 hp, a newly-designed spoiler and a rear diffuser that has been tweaked to compromise its aerodynamic efficiency so that it conforms to GT4 rules.
The opening round in the Competition102 GT4 European Series is tabled for Monza, Italy, on 24 April. It is then onto Pau, France, on 15 May. Silverstone (Great Britain) is up next, on 12 June, for a three-hour endurance event and then comes Spa, on 10 July, for another long, two-hour event; both in combination with the British GT Championship. Once the summer break is out of the way, it will be into the home straight at the Hungaroring (Hungary), on 25 September, and Zandvoort (Netherlands) on 9 October.
Before Pau, another Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 is on track at Rockingham, England, in the British GT Championship. The number 60 car will be driven for Ebor GT Motorsport by Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton. In Round 1, at Brands Hatch, the British duo came home eighth in the GT4 category. The drivers and car showed their potential but a pit stop glitch and early finish (a red flag was brought out) influenced the outcome.
The American PWC series is an intense one. Things get underway on 6 March at Austin (Texas) with the second round held just seven days later at St Petersburg (Florida). It is then onto Barber Motorsport Park (Alabama) on 24 April. On 22 May it will be the turn of the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Ontario, Canada) to stage an event. The circus will then move on to Lime Rock Park (Connecticut), on 29 May, Road America (Wisconsin), on 26 June, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Ohio), on 30 July. 12 August will see the cars turn out at Utah Motorsports Campus (Utah), before the 18 September meet at Sonoma (California) and the grand finale at Laguna Seca’s Mazda Raceway (California) on 9 October. The Maserati GranTurismo MCs that will race in the GTS class will be fielded by different teams: JCR Motorsports, KPR Racing, RT Motorsports and Three Points Racing. XSpeed will announce his programs.
The Ebor GT team stepped onto the podium for the first time this season in the British GT Championship with their Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4. The crew, Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton, achieved second place in the GT4 class race 2 (fourteenth overall) in the third round of the championship held on the Oulton Park circuit over the weekend of May 28th.
This result is proof of the progress the team has made and bodes well for forthcoming events such as the next round at Silverstone scheduled for June 11th.
"Honestly, at one point I even started to toy with the idea of actually winning”, said Hoggarth, “but, unfortunately, the red flag which marked an early end to the race stopped us from doing more. In any case we are working well and on the right tracks. The Oulton Park circuit is twisty with short straights but we managed to find the right set up. We’ve learned something new and look forward to even better results in the next round."
The Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 was up with the best in the second round of the British GT Championship. The Ebor GT team drivers Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton secured an awesome fourth place in the GT4 category, finishing fifteenth overall in the second round of the British championship season which took place at the Rockingham Motor Speedway on Sunday May 1st.
“Finishing up there with the champions in the second round is surely a good result,” proudly commented Ebor GT team manager Adrian Snook. “We are still working on the best settings for the car and every time we go out on the track we learn something new and improve our performance.
It's definitely a great experience to compete with teams, cars and drivers who have much greater experience than we have.” The British GT continues on 28th May at Oulton Park.
The Squadre Clienti Maserati had a fantastic showing at Monza on 23-24 April. The GranTurismo MC GT4s picked up two wins in the 2016 Competition102 GT4 European Series.
In Round 1, the scuderia Villorba Corse secured its debut win courtesy of the Anselmi/Sernagiotto crew before 2015 Maserati Trofeo World Series champion Romain Monti, from France, took race 2. In taking the title Monti also earned the chance to compete in a European championship race with Maserati staff providing back up.
The second 2016 event in the European calendar is Pau, France, on 14-15 May. The stage see Villorba Corse and Swiss Team cars competing, along with the drivers who have opted to link up with Maserati.
Maserati claimed both races at Monza in Round 1 of the Competition102 GT4 European Series. It was a fine achievement for the Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4s as they made their debut in this European Series in the best way possible. Race 1, held on Saturday afternoon, saw the Luca Anselmi-Giorgio Sernagiotto crew from Villorba Corse take the win. On Sunday, victory went to Romain Monti.
It turned out to be a fantastic weekend for the team from Veneto: they also celebrated Patrick Zamparini-Alessandro Fogliani's win in the AM category (fifth overall), the third spot claimed by Piotr Chodzen and the twelfth place secured by his son, Antoni, in Saturday's event.
Romain Monti, was able to count on the backing of the staff that oversaw the Maserati Trofeo in years gone by and, thanks to his 2015 title in the single-make series, he earned the right to drive a round in a European GT4 series. The Frenchman pocketed top spot in Race 2 as he left the pit lane following his compulsory stop; he was fourth in the early stint. Monti claimed victory even though he was overtaken by two Chevrolet Camaros because the red flag was flown two minutes from the end, freezing the positions as they were on the previous lap when the safety car was on. Race officials decided to call time on the race as one of the cars had leaked oil all over the track, making racing too risky.
In Race 2 came another encouraging result for Villorba Corse as Anselmi/Sernagiotto took eighth and the pairing of Fogliani-Zamparini again finished on the podium with third in the AM category (tenth overall).
Completing the “Squadre Clienti Maserati” line up was Swiss Team, with its crew of Giuseppe Fascicolo-Mauro Calamia, winner of the 2014 Maserati Trofeo World Series. The Italo-Swiss pair were hampered by a suspension problem, one that made qualifying tough and race results a struggle.
Another name from Maserati Trofeo history, Alessandro Iazzetti, appeared behind the wheel of a GranTurismo MC GT4. He finished in eighteenth and twelfth, respectively.
The No.99 Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 showed strong pace out of the box at the 14-turn, 4.048 mile road course famous for its long straightaways and ultra-fast corners, resulting in the first podium for the Maserati GT4 in the PWC GTS Class.
“Somewhat bittersweet because our Maserati was great all weekend and I really wanted to bring Maserati their first PWC win, but circumstances at the start of both races put us in a position to have to fight our way back through a very tough and competitive field! And I would have liked a few more laps on Sunday to see what we had for Brett? But congratulations to Brett and the ANSA team on their win and Thanks to the JCR crew for a great effort! It was a great weekend for our team, myself and our sponsors, it was awesome to have our friends and family hanging out all weekend supporting us!” said Courtney.
The second Maserati of KPR team, driven by Mark Kleinin, paid some technical problems during the weekend: a axle shaft breakage just before the qualifying session compromised the result of race 1, while a rear toe-link breakage after a hard scuffing on a curb stopped the Maserati n°62 in race 2.
The PWC has a six-weeks break until GTS Rounds 13 and 14 which will take place at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in Mansfield, OH July 29-30, 2016.
The racing season of Maserati GT4 closes with a victory, as it had started in Monza last April in the GT4 European Championship. This time, the victory was likely in an endurance race, the Gulf 12 hours of Abudhabi, on the spectacular Yas Marina F1 Circuit.
The protagonist always the Maserati Customer Team Villorba Racing, already winner of two races in the European GT4 Championship 2016, which led to Abudhabi two GranTurismo MC GT4 with crews G.Fascicolo, T.Herpell, C.Mor in the car# 90 and P .Chodzen, A. Chodzen, P.Zamparini in the car #50. This last crew has monopolized the race weekend, posting the fastest time in qualifying and then allowing to start from pole position and leading the race from the first lap.
Less fortunate the crew of the car #90 which, due to a technical problem, had to serve a long pit stop, before resuming the race with a gap of several laps.
The race at Yas Marina confirms the competitiveness of the GranTurismo MC in the GT4 class, a category that sees cars technically very close to series production, with some modifications for use on the track. The GT4 is the entry class to the GT world that is attracting more and more gentlemen and young drivers who, thanks to an affordable budget, they want to compete in the fascinating world of GT cars.
In 2017, the Maserati Customer Teams will bring back on track the GranTurismo MC GT4 in major international championships like the GT4 European Championship and the US Pirelli World Challenge as well as in national GT series and international endurance races.
The next event on track will be scheduled in the first weeks of February, when all the GT4 cars will be called to the most important test of the year, the Balance of Performance, where the technical configurations of each model will be defined. The difficult task of technical scrutineers and officers is to balance the actual performance of cars featuring different concepts and technology, to ensure consistent technical basis and leave the task to the drivers to make the difference in the race.
The GranTurismo MC GT4 will benefit in 2017 from a few significant technical upgrades, in order to maintain competitiveness against increasingly fierce competition in the next season.
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