Maserati will take care of running the series. The all-inclusive format suits gentleman drivers and those who want to race high-performance cars from a marque that has long been associated with motor racing.
The 2012 season officially gets underway with this weekend's tests at Vallelunga to kick off a series won by David Baldi last year. The two test days will see around forty drivers from twelve countries trying out the new car. There will be drivers from Italy, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, England, Germany, Monaco, San Marino, Hungary and the United Arab Emirates taking part.
As things stand, there are 20 crews enrolled, including three teams, AF Corse, Swiss Team and Konvex Racing, which battled it out for the title last year. There are also lots of drivers who have stayed loyal to the Maserati series, like Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, who last year scooped the Team title along with Alessandro Chionna, and Renaud Kuppens (who has competed in the FIA GT). Among the newcomers are Giorgio Sernagiotto/Giuseppe Fascicolo (ex-Ferrari Challenge), Riccardo Ragazzi/Alan Simoni (ex-Italian GT), Andrea Dromedari/Max Pigoli (ex-Superstars International), Tiziano Cappelletti (Italian GT4 champion).
The first round in the series is scheduled for 20 May at Jarama, Spain. It is then on to Portimao, Portugal, on 3 June, Imola (Italy) on 24 June, and Paul Ricard (France) on 22 July. Then come the two events that wrap up the season: in North America, on 23 September, and Asia on 4 November.
The GranTurismo MC’s new set up, featuring an aerodynamic bodykit and reduced weight, will make it more competitive. During test sessions held during the winter break, the car showed that its performance was much better as it lapped at an average of 2.5 seconds quicker than the 2011 version. The 2012 races are also new, with two formats to be run: the standard 40 minute event will be run for three rounds with the other three rounds made up of endurance races of two 30 minute and one 50 minute event. The 50 minute races will feature a compulsory pit stop and driver change for cars crewed by two drivers.
The regulations have also been tweaked: as well as the usual division between Trofeo and Team standings, this year will see the introduction of an Absolute classification. All the drivers can compete for a place in these new standings with the winning team or driver being crowned the 2012 Maserati Trofeo MC World Series champion.
All the cars that appear in the Trofeo are made track-ready by a dedicated team of technicians to ensure that the drivers race on a level playing field. Private teams can take part with cars set up in line with 2010, 2011 or 2012 spec. However, private cars have to meet homologation criteria and Maserati's technical requirements. The data analysis session with Maserati engineers has also been confirmed.
The cost of competing in the Trofeo series is €110.000, plus the race entry and test fees. €70.000 (excluding fees) ensures participation in the four European stages. For private teams fielding their own cars, the cost is €35.000 (excluding fees) for the entire championship and €25.000 (excluding fees) for the European legs only.
Maserati's track programme will also see an indirect competition with a Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo GT3 from Swiss Team. The Swiss squad's GT3 will make its first track outing at Jarama in the Spanish GT and will then go on to appear in the GT Open. Incidentally, Swiss Team contributed to developing the Trofeo 2012's kit.
Winter saw the first ever Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK. The Maserati single-make series was held exclusively in the Middle East over six gripping rounds. Races took place on the F1 tracks in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain with Lebanese driver Joe Ghanem eventually coming out on top.
The list of partners and official suppliers to the 2012 Maserati Trofeo MC World Series includes the confirmation of Pirelli and Sparco and the entry of new companies like Bower & Wilkins, Maserati Time, Kuehne + Nagel, Audes, Performance 1 and Bontour.
The 3850 metre Jarama circuit, in Spain, will stage the opening round of the 2012 Maserati Trofeo MC World Series. This year the calendar will include an event in the United States (Infineon, 23 September) and in China (Shanghai, 4 November). The six-race series will also include rounds at Portimao (3 June), Imola (24 June) and Paul Ricard (22 July).
20th May - Jarama, Spain
Victories for Romagnoli and Sernagiotto in the first round
Riccardo Romagnoli and Giorgio Sernagiotto added two wins to the pole positions they secured in qualifying for the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series.
This weekend's action is taking at Jarama, Spain, and features 23 crews from 10 countries (Italy, Spain, Monaco, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia and Morocco).
Riccardo Romagnoli: "The track was really slippery because of the rain. This caused me a few problems in finding the ideal racing line. Once into my stride I tried to build a big enough lead to see it through but, towards the end, I realised that Sbirrazzuoli had managed to catch me. I had no option but to hold onto my position until the chequered flag. The Trofeo Maserati could not have started any better".
Giorgio Sernagiotto: “When you take pole and then go on to win it is a special feeling because if you get the victory it means you really were quickest. It is even better if it all happens on such a demanding and eye-catching circuit like Jarama. I wanted to build up an advantage from the start but then the safety car ruined my plans. Luckily, I managed to slot back into a groove and finish the race out in front”.
The Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 made its first appearance this weekend at Jarama. Fielded by the private Swiss Team, the car is crewed by Alessandro Pier Guidi and Gabriele Gardel. Before having to retire after an accident, the Maserati had set some interesting lap times. The MC GT3 will make its next track appearances in the GT Open series.
Round 2 in the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series is scheduled for 3 June at Portimao, Portugal.
1. Riccardo Romagnoli/Edo Varini 40:27.493
2. AF Corse – Cedric Sbirrazzuoli/Alessandro Chionna 40:27.630*
3. Alan Simoni/Riccardo Ragazzi 40:49.826
1. Giorgio Sernagiotto/Giuseppe Fascicolo 41:23.899
2. Swiss Team - Andrea Dromedari 41:32.890*
3. Youssaf El Marnissi 41:35.741
*In the Team standings
1. Fascicolo/Sernagiotto - Dromedari – 25 points
3. Romagnoli/Varini – 24 points
4. Simoni/Ragazzi – 18 points
1. Fascicolo/Sernagiotto –29 points
2. Romagnoli/Varini – 27 points
3. Simoni/Ragazzi – 25 points
1. Konvex Motorsport (Wasczinski/Kuppens) - 47 points
2. Swiss Team (Dromedari) –35 points
3. AF Corse (Sbirrazzuoli/Chionna) –32 points
*Also in the Team standings.
3rd June - Portimao, Portugal
Wins for Sernagiotto and Kuppens at Portimao
Giorgio Sernagiotto and Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Motorsport) secured races 2 and 3 at the second round of the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series.
The Portuguese circuit of Portimao was the stage on which 23 crews took to the track this weekend. This round witnessed two exciting races on the Sunday after Monaco-based Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, from AF Corse, had stormed to victory on the Saturday.
Continual lead changes and tight midfield battles characterised the weekend’s first two events, both run over 30 minutes. Giorgio Sernagiotto, in pole, saw Alan Simoni and then young Joe Ghanem speed past at turn 1.
Ghanem again came third, this time behind Sernagiotto and Romagnoli, as he put on another brave display to fend off Kuppens’ last ditch attacks.
The first 50-minute endurance race of the season was also a gripping fight (in this event there is a compulsory pit stop as well as a driver change for crewed cars). In the end it was Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Motorsport) who came out on top. Next up was Joe Ghanem, just 2.091 seconds down, and the Alan Simoni/Riccardo Ragazzi duo, third and 15.772 seconds off the winning time.
The early part of the race was especially tight with the top six drivers bunched up: Riccardo Romagnoli was leading from Gardelli, Ragazzi, Sernagiotto, Kuppens and Ghanem. The race order was always changing with the drivers really going for it.
The pit stops changed the face of the race. First out of the pit lane was Renaud Kuppens, gaining the precious few seconds on Joe Ghanem that he held until the finish. Behind them came Alan Simoni, who had replaced Riccardo Ragazzi, as he comfortably secured third ahead of Gardelli/Venier and Romagnoli/Varini. Next up came the Sernagiotto/Fascicolo crew, giving them an overall series lead on 55 points with Romagnoli/Varini and Renaud Kuppens seconds on 53.
Auto Express journalist Owen Mildenhall, appearing as a guest of Maserati Trofeo World Series, classified eighth in Races 1 and 2 and came tenth in Race 3.
A two-minute report on the Portuguese weekend will be broadcast tonight at midnight during the Motorsport Weekend programme on Eurosport. A 26-minute highlights package will be aired on 7 June at 16.30 on Eurosport2.
Giorgio Sernagiotto: “There was much more action in this race compared to Jarama. I didn’t get off to a good start and was overtaken by Simoni and Ghanem. Then I lost my bonnet but made the most of Simoni dropping out to edge past Ghanem. I took the lead and held on to the end despite Romagnoli’s great comeback. I am pleased and think that the series is an exciting one that will go to the wire”.
Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Motorsport): “It was an enjoyable race but a long one because fifty minutes is a long time behind the wheel. I put in a great lap before the pit stop, left the pits first and kept the lead until the finish. Still, it wasn’t easy because there was a lot of traffic out there and I lost a bit of time but I got the win and am very happy”.
1. Giorgio Sernagiotto/Giuseppe Fascicolo – 30:05.382
2. Riccardo Romagnoli/Edo Varini +1.166
3. Joe Ghanem +5.122
1. Konvex Motorsport (Renaud Kuppens)* - 51:17.878
2.Joe Ghanem +2.091
3.Alan Simoni/Riccardo Ragazzi +15.772
*In the Team standings
1. Fascicolo/Sernagiotto - 56 points
2. Romagnoli/Varini - Konvex Motorsport (Renaud Kuppens)* – 53 points
4. Simoni/Ragazzi – 48 points
1. Fascicolo/Sernagiotto – 64 points
2. Simoni/Ragazzi – 63 points
3. Romagnoli/Varini – 62 points
1. Konvex Motorsport (Wasczinski/Kuppens) – 129 points
2. AF Corse (Sbirrazzuoli/Chionna) – 79 points
3. Swiss Team (Dromedari) – 68 points
*Also in the Team standings.
Text and photos courtesy of Maserati