Monday, July 27, 2009

July 2009 Dream Car of the Month - Maserati MC12

In 2004 Maserati (then still owned by Ferrari) introduced the MC12 as a homologation special to allow them to go racing in FIA GT competition. It was to signal Maserati's return to racing after a 37 year hiatus. Each car was priced at over $1,000,000 and a total of 50 road version MC12s were sold to the public.

Underneath the carbon fiber, Giorgetto Giugiaro/Frans Stephenson designed body is the chassis and drivetrain of a Ferrari Enzo. The 6.0 liter V12 produces 621HP/481TQ and is connected to a 6speed paddle shifted manumatic transaxle. Combined with a curb weight of around 2,900lbs, the MC12 can accelerate from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds on it's way to an 11.3 second 1/4 mile and a top speed of 205mph.

Although it was a homologated race car, the street version of the MC12 did feature some level of luxury. Exposed carbon fiber and exotic materials adorn the interior. One notable exclusion however is the option of a stereo system or even anywhere to put one. A detachable targa top is standard on the road MC12 but there is nowhere to store the removed panel.

In order to maximize the body design, the MC12 was extensively tested in a wind tunnel to get the aerodynamics and downforce right for racing. The bottom of the car is covered for smooth airflow under the car and diffusers at the rear help keep the car stable and glued to the road at speed.

A total of 50 MC12s were sold to the public over a 2 year production run (2004-2005) and several more racing versions were produced. The MC12 GT1 race cars debuted in 2004 and began to rack up podium finishes. Unfortunately, the MC12 was not allowed to score any points from many of those finishes due to a dispute with the FIA over the car's homologation status. It wasn't until the last race of the year that the matter was settled and the MC12 was allowed to score championship points. The MC12 won that race at Zhuhai. In 2005 the MC12 won the manufacturers championship beating out Ferrari and in 2006 and 2007 the MC12 won the Teams' Championship. Campaigns in Italian GT, Super GT and ALMS racing were not as successful.

MC12 Corsa

In 2006 Maserati developed the MC12 Corsa which was based on the MC12 GT1 race car but available to private owners who wanted a dedicated track car much like the Ferrari FXX. Costing around $1.5 million each, there were a total of 12 sold to specially selected owners. The MC12 Corsa featured the same engine as the race version and put out 744HP. The body was also slightly different in that it used the shorter nose section used on the MC12 GT1 raced in the American LeMans Series. Each Corsa was kept and maintained by Maserati with the owners only able to use them on track days. A lot of money for a weekend toy that you can't even go out to the garage and drool over.

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