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To many, the Maserati MC12 is seen simply as a reclothed Enzo. A rarer car, with a more elaborate dress over the same mechanicals. The mentality behind the MC12 however was quite different, the reason it came to exist arguably better, and the aerodynamic benefits it was afforded over the Ken Okuyama-penned Enzo.
The MC12 was developed to race. Maserati’s competition & technical lead Giorgio Ascanelli was in charge, having made his name serving Ayrton Senna as his track engineer at McLaren and later moving to Ferrari as their Formula 1 technical director, overseeing Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. After moving to Maserati, he began to develop their return to top-flight motorsport with an FIA-GT eligible racer. Maserati had been absent from motorsport for 37 years.
The Ferrari-Maserati Group's wealth of knowledge and technological excellence was poured into the new car.
Initially the development started with the (MCC) Maserati Corse Competizione, to be developed alongside the (MCS) Maserati Corse Stradale. The final product would be co-developed with Ferrari and predominately designed by Ferrari-Maserati Concept and Developmental Design head Frank Stephenson with the goal of function-over-form. The Stradale would homologate the race efforts.
The GT1 had the perfect recipe. In 2004, Maserati had intended on entering three works cars However, at the time of its debut at Imola part way through the season, the FIA had yet confirm its eligibility. Unable to score points, the cars still finished 2nd and 3rd. Maserati took victory in following race at Oschersleben and again at the final round at Zhuhai. In 2005, Maserati won the Manufacturers Cup with almost double the score of second place. This winning streak would continue for the next 5 years.
White & Blue - America Camoradi
The Fuji White and Blu Victory livery harks back to the America Camoradi (Casner Motor Racing Division) Maserati Tipo 60/61 ‘Birdcage’ that raced at the start of the 1960s. At a time when Maserati couldn’t afford to run a factory ‘works’ team, American Lloyd ‘Lucky’ Casner stepped forward and raced the car in the white and blue colour scheme synonymous with the Maserati’s period motor racing efforts.
Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri and his revolutionary design had changed the company’s perspective on motorsport; dropping the much larger 4.5-litre V8 from the preceding 450S in favour of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the Tipo 60/61 - a car that earned its ‘Birdcage’ nickname from the use of 200 lightweight thin gauge steel tubes. Stirling Moss tested the car extensively and won the 7th Grand Prix of Rouen at the car's debut in 1959. Casner’s team took the car to victory at both the 1960 and 1961 1000km Nürburgring, firstly at the hands of Moss and Dan Gurney and latterly, Masten Gregory and Lucky Casner.
Whilst several road cars have been repainted since; at the time of launch, they were available predominantly in the white and blue livery. Only a handful of cars were finished in other colours, most notably, the sole black example was painted Nero Daytona for Michael Schumacher, for his assistance in test driving and development. A second satin black example was repainted for the Sultan of Brunei.
The MC12 would ultimately share only the front windscreen with the Enzo on the outside. Developed on an Enzo chassis, after extensive wind-tunnel testing and input from Giorgetto Giugiaro; the resulting design would be significantly longer at over five metres, wider and with the addition of the roof scoop, taller than the Enzo too. With all the changes, the MC12 in fact has a lower drag coefficient than that of its sister car.
Under the skin, the MC12 would fundamentally share the Enzo’s 6.0-litre, naturally-aspirated 65° V12 and six-speed automated manual gearbox. Both were subtly different however, the MC12 red line sits at 7,500rpm or 500rpm fewer than the Enzo, its power is reduced by 30 bhp to 621 bhp but torque remains the same. The gearbox ratios were adjusted too with a shorter final gear, a top speed of 205 mph.
The finer details that aren’t covered in the press releases are perhaps more interesting. Along with the longer overhangs, the MC12 is in fact longer in the middle; growing by a not inconsiderable 15cm between the wheels over the Enzo! Then front wheel moves further forward in the case of the Maserati; providing greater stability and aerodynamic gains.
At the time of launch, there was great excitement about the roof scoop on the car. It was a requirement as the GT1 cars drew their power from the roof, but on the road car, the air that feeds the engine is drawn from the top-sided vents ahead of the rear wheels, through the side-mounted airboxes into the same (now silver-painted) intake plenum, underneath the vast white cover. The roof scoop isn’t blanked out though, and cold air passes down into the engine bay to aid cooling.
Another notable difference between the two cars comes from Maserati’s motorsport intentions. Whilst the Enzo engine is driven by a timing belt, the MC12 is in fact gear-driven – more reliable and much better for sustained high performance.
Despite the reduction in power and rpm, however, the improvements to the overall aerodynamics and clean downforce, plus a weight saving of roughly 80 kilograms over an Enzo meant the MC12 was actually 1 second faster than Ferrari’s Enzo around the Nürburgring and faster around the BBC Top Gear test track too.
The Stradale entered production in 2004 with an initial production run of 25 cars. A further 25, including this example, were produced the following year to re-homologate the racer; revising the front end and shortening the car to exactly 5 metres in order to conform to the updated GT1 regulation changes.
In total, 50 cars were made available for customers, all of which were pre-sold to VIP clients. Ten GT1 examples were built and a 12 Versione Corsa were additionally built.
Completed in March 2005, this example would spend the first seven months of its life in transit to its first owner in South Korea. Upon arrival, it was first registered in late October in Seoul where it would remain with its sole private keeper until 2016. Used sparingly, the car covered just 5,150 kilometres throughout his ownership.
This example received regular service by supplying dealership FMK; Forza Motors Korea who were the sole Maserati importer for the region.
In 2016, the car was sold and the de-registration certificate from the first owner remains in the car’s accompanying history file. The car was sent to the UK where it was advertised by DD Classics and the following year; shown at Techno Classica in Essen still in the care of DD.
The car was subsequently sold to Australia where it has seen only occasional use – as cars must be RHD to be used. Today this example presents with just 6,600 kilometres from new accompanied by its book pack and spare key; ready to be enjoyed by its next custodian.