Tipo 331B204R

Not named after a wind, but it certainly went like one!

This article first appeared in the December 1990 issue of
'IL TRIDENTE', the official magazine of the Club Maserati.

The Racing launched in 1990

With the advent of the 2.24v. with its 24-valve engine, Maserati now had a powerful and more importantly more reliable engine. The 'Biturbo' was entering a new era! New chassis engineering, the new electronically adjustable suspension and the introduction of the new Ranger® rear differential had given the Marque the opportunity of providing even more power to its range.

At the 1990 Turin Motor Show Maserati displayed the Quattroporte Royale, the 2.24v. Coupé, the Spyder 90, the Shamal, first presented in mock-up form at Modena in December 1989, and the new 4.24v. sports saloon.

Maserati's new line up for 1991 was the Shamal, which had received rave reviews in Paris and Birmingham, and the Racing.

Only 230 lucky owners drive a Racing.


The powerful 283 bhp 2.0-litre V6 engine

The Racing, often referred to as the prototype for the new Ghibli, was the final evolution of the 2.24v. coupé, with many important modifications.

It was powered by the all-aluminium V6, 2-litre, 24-valve, 4-overhead camshaft engine now producing 285 bhp at 6250 rpm. Thanks largely to a new re-designed crankshaft, new lighter con-rods, new forged pistons (replacing the earlier cast pistons), re-designed combustion chambers, sodium-cooled valves, new IHI type RHB 5.2 turbochargers and a new management system. The cylinder heads also received attention with re-profiled camshafts.

The 24-valve twin-cam cylinder head.

The all-aluminium engine block.

The engines of this special edition model had the word 'Racing' cast on the cam covers. The power output of 143 bhp per litre was, at the time of its launch, the highest output per litre for any production road car in the world.

Factory figures gave a top speed of 256 kph (160 mph) and acceleration figures of 0-100 km/h (0-61 mph) in 5.9 seconds and 0-1000 m from a standing start in 25.60 seconds.


The layout of the Maserati-Koni adjustable suspension system.

Maserati in conjunction with KONI developed the new 'Electronic Active Suspension' system. A sophisticated system in which each shock absorber is adjusted individually. When an individual wheel encounters and irregularities in the road surface it sends out a signal to the computer in three tenths of a second which in turn sends out new settings to each wheel.

With a laden (allowing 70 kg for the driver) kerb weight of 1393 kg, weight distribution is 780 kg on the front wheels and 613 kg on the rear wheels giving a front to rear weight ratio of 56% : 44%.

A new 5-speed Getrag gearbox, replaced the ageing and awkward ZF-type box, was fitted to give smoother and quicker gear selection.

New larger diameter discs provided the necessary braking requirements.

The Racing was not fitted with a catalytic convertor.


The new Ghibli is taking shape.

To emphasize a more aggresive sporting image the car was only available in two colours red and black and several minor changes were made to the front bodywork: a redesigned bonnet was made to blend in with a new more rounded front grille, new headlamps consisting of two polyellipsoidal low beams and two rectangular high beams were encased in panels a la Shamal, the latest Nineties front bumper/ spoiler design was maintained as were the NACA air intakes on the bonnet. The windscreen wipers were now hidden under a front spoiler, giving the car a cleaner line from the windscreen.

Other important changes were the wing mirrors that were now painted the same colour as the car as was the side roof drip guttering and the new deeper side skirts under the doors.

The rear boot lid which had the words Maserati on one side and Racing on the other side as well as the central classic Marque motif, now sported a rear spoiler which gave a smoother flowing sweep down from the roofline. Four exhaust pipes two on either side projected from the rear bumper. The dark tinted rear light cluster completed the aggresive image. The new seven spoke 16-inch OZ wheels with the wheel nuts concealed behind removable lockable hub caps were the same as used on the Shamal.

Any colour you like as long as it's red or black!


The interior of the Racing.

The now classic Biturbo interior was given a more sporting feel by the use of black panels in place of the standard wood veneered panels and a polished wood-rimmed steering wheel, hand brake lever and gear lever knob. Interior and seat upholstery was in black hand-stitched leather.

An outside temperature gauge, with frost warning buzzer, was added but the now familiar gold clock remained.

The interior was finished in hand-stitched supple anti-slip leather throughout. No matter how sporty the model, Maserati have never sacrificed the driver's creature comforts.

In 1991 and 1992, the Racing went on sale in Italy with a price tag of ITL. 75.285.000, compared to the price for the standard 2.24v. of ITL. 65.285.000 in 1991 and ITL. 66.985.000 in 1992.

Ample seating for rear passengers - for short trips!

Giancarlo Baghetti tests the Racing

This article first appeared in the April 1991 issue of
'IL TRIDENTE', the official magazine of the Club Maserati.

Giancarlo Baghetti has tested the Racing round the circuit at Varano de'Melegari.

Maserati has remained one of the few Marques capable of creating a very special bond with its drivers; not just through its high performance but mainly because of the sheer driving pleasure it gives.

With the new 'Racing', this philosophy is enhanced by its 285 bhp power output, that, as well as representing the ultimate in power from any 2-litre engined production road car, is the result of further development of the classic twin-turboed V6, 24-valve engine.

This increase in power was acheived by modifications to many major components, namely the crankshaft, lightened con-rods and new alloy pistons.

It is remarkable not only by the fact that it achieves a specific power output of over 143 bhp per litre, but even more by the manner in which this power is distributed.

Furthermore it is achieved within the limits of the engine's 6250 rev limit, even more impressive is the torque powerful curve, even from low revs: at 2000 rpm one already experiences a remarkable surge that progressively increases to 3500 rpm (37.3kgm - 269.8 lb ft) when it really kicks in at a maximum torque of 38.1kgm (275.6 lb ft) at 4250 rpm.

The new 5-speed Getrag gearbox is smooth and precise, allowing quick gear selection.

Posessing a natural tendency to oversteer, the Racing allows one to slide the rearend in a gradual and progressive manner, enabling the driver to exhibit spectacular opposite locks. On entering a bend at speed one is reminded to be cautious, characterized, by a slight tendency to understeer that disappears as soon as the external front wheel is loaded. On accelerating, this understeer changes to oversteer and can easily be controlled with absolute certainty, using a combination of the engine power and the quick action of the steering wheel, without losing control even in the event of lifting one's foot off the accelerator: giving enough time to straighten the steering when the rearend regains adhesion. That said, a more precise steering would be preferable.

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