The 2012 Maserati Trofeo is the latest competition version of the gorgeous GranTurismo. Across six weekends a full grid of professional and amateur drivers race them in the exclusive Maserati Trofeo World Series - the only one-make race series to take in three continents.
This hard-edged track-only variant’s huge rear wing and delicate front winglets leave you in no doubt about its intentions. Both these aerodynamic aids have been added to this 2012 version, to increase grip levels and slash lap times.
Yet under all the sporty additions, the Trofeo shares the same underpinnings and 4.7-litre V8 engine as the road car. Still it’s more than 300kg lighter than even the MC Stradale on which it's based, which means performance is sensational.
All of the panels are composite, while the glass has been replaced with polycarbonate. Open the ultra light carbon-fibre door and jump into the stripped out cabin, and it’s clear to see where the weight has gone.
Inside, the upper part of the dash and the classic Maserati clock remains - and unlike on the previous version, it actually works! The rest of the cabin is pure motorsport technology - you get a hi-tech dash and data logger, a central switch panel and a full safety cage.
Press the start button and the 4.7-litre V8 barks into life and, once on the move, a truly amazing soundtrack echoes around the bare cabin, while the exhaust note on downshifts is incredible.
We drove the car in the one-make Trofeo Championship earlier this year. As all cars are run in-house by Maserati’s racing arm, there’s no technical advantages to be had, placing the onus firmly on the driver.
With this in mind ABS and traction is removed, so extracting the best from the Trofeo takes a delicate touch and plenty of skill. The way the Maserati accelerates, stops and grips is incredible, yet the strength of the full race brakes mean you need to be careful not to lock up and flat spot a tyre. While the power on offer mean’s avoiding losing traction and overheating the slick Pirelli tyres is also crucial.
The Maserati Trofeo is a proper racecar that excites drivers and spectators alike. From behind the wheel you can still feel similarities to the road car, and that’s testament to the sporting heart found in all Maserati sports cars.