Weekly Historical Car
The Maserati MC12 is a two-seater sports car produced by Italian car maker Maserati to allow a racing variant to compete in the FIA GT Championship. The car entered production in 2004 with 25 cars produced. A further 25 were produced in 2005 making a total of 50 cars available for customers, each of which was pre-sold for €600,000.
Maserati designed and built the car on the chassis of the Enzo Ferrari but the final car is much larger and has a lower drag coefficient. The MC12 is longer, wider and taller and has a sharper nose and smoother curves than the Enzo Ferrari, which has faster acceleration, better braking performance (shorter braking distance) and a higher top speed. The top speed of the Maserati MC12 is 330 kilometres per hour (205 mph) whereas the top speed of the Enzo Ferrari is 350 kilometres per hour (217.5 mph).
The MC12 was developed to signal Maserati's return to racing after 37 years. The road version was produced to homologate the race version. One requirement for participation in the FIA GT is the production of at least 25 road cars. Three GT1 race cars were entered into the FIA GT with great success. Maserati began racing the MC12 in the FIA GT toward the end of the 2004 season, winning the race held at theZhuhai International Circuit. The racing MC12s were entered into the American Le Mans Series races in 2005 but exceeded the size restrictions and consequently paid weight penalties due to excess range.
Under the direction of Giorgio Ascanelli, Maserati began development of an FIA GT-eligible race car. This car, which would eventually be named the MC12, was initially called the "MCC" ("Maserati Corse Competizione") and it was to be developed simultaneously with a road going version, the "MCS" ("Maserati Corse Stradale"). Frank Stephenson did the majority of the body styling, but the initial shape was developed during wind tunnel testing from an idea had by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The MCC has a very similar body shape to the MC12 but there are several key differences, most notably the rear spoiler. Andrea Bertolini served as the chief test driver throughout development, although some testing was done by Michael Schumacher, who frequently tested the MCC at the Fiorano Circuit. During the development process, the MCC name was set aside after Maserati established the car's official name, MC12.
The car is based heavily on the Enzo Ferrari, using a slightly modified version of the Ferrari Dino V12, the same gearbox (but given the unique name of "Maserati Cambiocorsa") and the samechassis and track (length of axle between the wheels). The windshield is the only externally visible component shared with the Enzo; the MC12 has a unique body which is wider, longer and slightly taller. The increased size creates greater downforce across the MC12's body in addition to the downforce created by the two metre spoiler.
The MC12 is a two-door coupe with a targa top roof, although the detached roof cannot be stored in the car. The mid-rear layout (engine between the axles but behind the cabin) keeps thecentre of gravity in the middle of the car, which increases stability and improves the car's cornering ability. The standing weight distribution is 41% front and 59% rear; at speed however, the downforce provided by the rear spoiler affects this such that at 200 kilometres per hour (125 mph), the effective weight distribution is 34% front and 66% rear.
Even though the car is designed as a homologation vehicle and is a modification of a racing car, the interior is intended to be luxurious. The interior is a mix of gel-coated carbon fibre, blue leather and silver "Brightex", a synthetic material which was found to be, "too expensive for the fashion industry." The centre console features the characteristic Maserati oval analogue clockand a blue ignition button, but it has been criticised for lacking a radio, car stereo or a place to install an aftermarket sound system.
The body of the car, made entirely of carbon fibre, underwent extensive wind tunnel testing to achieve maximum downforce across all surfaces. As a result, the rear spoiler is two metres (79 in) wide but only 30 millimetres (1.2 in) thick, the underside of the car is smooth, and the rear bumper hasdiffusers to take advantage of ground effect. Air is sucked into the engine compartment through the air scoop; its positioning on top of the cabin makes the car taller than the Enzo. The exterior is available only in the white and blue colour scheme, a tribute to the America Camoradi racing team that drove the Maserati Tipo Birdcages in the early 1960s. The car is noted for the awkwardness that results from its size; very long and wider than aHummer H2. This, combined with the lack of a rear window, can make parking the MC12 challenging.
The MC12 sports a 232 kilogram (511 lb), six-litre (5,998 cc/366 cu in) Enzo Ferrari-derived V12 engine, mounted at 65°. Each cylinder has four valves, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 11.2:1. These combine to provide a maximum torque of 652 newton metres (481 lbf·ft) at 5500 rpm and a maximum power of 630 PS (460 kW; 620 hp) at 7500 rpm. The redline rpm is indicated at 7500—despite being safe up to 7700—whereas the Enzo has its redline at 8200 rpm.
The Maserati MC12 can accelerate from 0–100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds (though Motor Trend Magazine managed 3.7 seconds) and on to 200 kilometres per hour (125 mph) in 9.9 seconds. It can complete a standing (from stationary) quarter mile in 11.3 seconds with a terminal speed of 200 kilometres per hour (125 mph) or a standing kilometre in 20.1 seconds. The maximum speed of the Maserati MC12 is 330 kilometres per hour (205 mph).
The power is fed to the wheels through a rear-mounted, six-speed semi-automatic transmission. The gearbox is the same as the Enzo's transmission (tuned to different gear ratios) but renamed "Maserati Cambiocorsa". It provides a shift time of just 150 milliseconds, and is mechanical with a 215 millimetre (8.5 in) twin plate dry clutch.