Teamwork, for a driver, is very important. And in many years at Maserati I have always been lucky enough to work with top people, an important help. Of course, the relationship with the team today is different from that of the past, when we reached important heights with the MC12 (ed. Bertolini was FIA GT champion 3 times – in 2006, 2008 and 2009 – and champion of the FIA GT1 world in 2010, again at the wheel of a Maserati MC12 of the Vitaphone Racing team). But the climate is the same.
With Maserati I worked on the development of all the models, not just the more sporty or racing ones on the occasion of the brand’s great return to the track in the GT2 covered wheel championships. So including the Grecale and the Granturismo. My job is to test them during development, and then take stock every two or three months with the Maserati team, with the aim of always improving. To understand what we want to do and how we can ask more from the machine. Transmitting the Maserati Corse feeling of a glorious past studded with successes into road cars.
Okay, I know, sometimes I’m a little heavy-handed with engineers, but you see, the bar must always be very high. Lowering it later is easy… One thing, however, I want to say: the tests I do are not only from a “track” perspective, but also – especially when we approach the final phase – in daily use, from a customer perspective. I travel with it all over Europe, even long trips, or I simply go shopping on a Saturday morning.
Then I make a usage report and – always from a customer perspective – we try to improve the defects. Although today, thanks to digital simulations, the first prototypes arrive on the road already very refined, at a very advanced stage. This is why in the end the product we provide has a very high level of quality. I can say without problems that we have never had cars like this.
And one of the things that gives me the most satisfaction is the feedback from customers who have a Maserati in the garage. Their opinions are very important to me; but I repeat, this is team work, done with Daniele Manca, the head of the collaborators, and with the whole team. Let’s say that my job was made much easier thanks to their work…
Returning to the MC20, the initial input from which we started was to create a super sports car for everyday use. From the track to the road. For this reason, the obsessive work we did with the handling and general architecture led us to have a car that was easy to drive, predictable, like a tailor-made suit. So when I hear a customer who uses it every day, or when I hear someone say that when they put the MC20 in “Race” mode they feel like a racer… Well, I’m happy. I feel like I’ve achieved my goal. It’s something that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
And then, from the MC20 we arrived at the MCXtrema, where the name says it all: it is the non-approved evolution of the MC20 for road use. Extreme in every way, a true track “beast”, from the refined aerodynamics that characterize its bodywork to the power of its engine, an evolution of the 740 HP V6 Nettuno. But I must say that I had a lot of fun developing the MCXtrema: we were working on the GT2, an important car for the category, which took to the starting grid for the first time in the Fanatec GT2 European Series for the last race of the season 2023 to Paul Ricard. From this car we started to create MCXtrema. A unique starting point, suffice it to say that on its debut, the Maserati GT2 went very well. And when a customer who has purchased the car goes on pole and gets on the podium it is a unique joy for me.
You see, with these cars customers buy an emotion. And the approach to their toy is very important. There are three steps. The first is visual, the second comes when they sit behind the wheel, the third when they try the car for the first time. And on all three points MCXtrema offers unique emotions. The car, in fact, offers very aggressive aerodynamic concepts, it is different from all other cars. Not to mention that the interiors are of a true racing prototype: we started from the idea of proposing a car that was halfway between a fighter and an F1 single-seater. We have thus created a cockpit that envelops the driver with a dashboard on the right and one on the left, a new, different steering wheel, with all the controls concentrated. And then the moment you turn it on… Well, you’re off on a unique journey!
However, the same concept is at the basis of all our Maseratis: that of having perfect cars in terms of balance and handling. And this is something that no one does. We achieve this perfection without electronics because I always try to make the machine impeccable without controls, because the electronics must be a parachute, and therefore minimally invasive, almost invisible. In any case, now I too feel like a child with his toy: I can’t wait to get on track for the first tests with the new MCXtrema in the definitive version…
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