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Maserati MC20 tested at ‘Targa Florio’, the oldest race track in the World

Nizam Shaikh
Written by Nizam Shaikh

On May 23 1940, Trident wielding Italian brand Maserati garnered four wins in a row at a prestigious Sicilian race track called Targa Florio. The driver who added four consecutive wins to the board was Luigi (Gigi) Villoresi, at the wheel of the Maserati Tipo 4CL. To commemorate the 80th Anniversary where Maserati created history, the brand went back to Sicily with an MC20 prototype and drove it over the roads and at the stretch where the famous Floriopoli stands are located at Targa Florio. 

The Maserati MC20 is currently under tests and has already performed using the dynamic simulator at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena and now the brand continues real-world testing which includes road testing under different conditions. The road tests on the streets of Sicily also serve to collect data and information for the super sports car’s final fine-tuning. 

The moniker ‘MC20’ in which the ‘MC’ is an acronym for Maserati Corse and ’20’ stands for the Year 2020. The Maserati MC20 super sportscar will be the first Maserati car to adopt a new engine that is completely designed, developed and produced by the Modena-based company in-house and will be built at the brand’s Modena production facility in Italy which has been expanded and modernised to accommodate the super sports cars production requirements. 

Talking about the Maserati Tipo 4CL, the single-seater was created by the youngest of the Maserati founders, Ernesto Maserati in 1939, to compete in the “Voiturette” class racing. The 4CL was built around the 6CM chassis but was armed with a new 1491cc four-cylinder 16-valve squared-off engine with a 78mm bore and 78mm stroke equipped with a volumetric turbocharger which developed 220 Hp of power @ 8,000 RPMs. 

The aerodynamic version of the 4CL debuted in Tripoli at the Libyan Grand Prix and took the Pole position with Gigi Villoresi behind the wheel. Its first win came two Grand Prix later in Naples, Italy by Englishman John Peter Wakefield, who went on to achieve two further victories in France, at the Picardie and Albi GPs.

The first to finish at the 31st edition of Targa Florio held at Palermo within the Favorita Park in the second half of 1930 was Gigi Villoresi who also set new records for the race average speed with 142.288 kmph and the lap time of 147.201 kmph. At the wheel of another Maserati at that edition, in his first racing season, was Alberto Ascari who later became a popular Italian racing driver and two-times Formula One World Champion.

 The new MC20 is slated to be launched in September 2020 and the Modena-based manufacturer aims to return to the racing circuits after the latest win with the Maserati MC12 which won the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2010. The MC12 weighed 1335 kg and had a stress-bearing, carbon fibre and Nomex, honeycomb sandwich monocoque chassis with front and rear aluminium sub-frames. Powering the MC12 was a 5,998cc 65-degree V12 48 valve DOHC engine with dry sump lubrication and a transaxle drive that produced 630 Hp of power @ 7,500 RPM and could do a top speed of 330+ kmph.

The brand also recently unveiled a unique prototype of the MC20 to pay homage to British Formula One Race Car driver Sir Stirling Moss who passed away on 12th April at the age of 90. The design inspiration has been drawn from the prototype single-seater Maserati Eldorado which made its debut in Monza by Sir Stirling Moss himself, at “Trofeo dei due Mondi” in 1958.

In related news, Maserati is also expanding the Mirafiori production facility to accommodate the production needs of the upcoming new Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio with a fully electric powertrain and the brand has invested EUR 800 Million for the same.

Maserati 4CL 1940

Maserati 4CL

Gigi Villoresi at Targa Florio on 23 May 1940

Maserati MC20 Prototype