Maserati has returned to sportscar racing with a customer car for the burgeoning GT2 class. Here’s how the car simply known as Maserati GT2 differs from the MC20 street car on which it is based
Based on the road going MC20, the new Maserati GT2 made its competition debut at Paul Ricard in the final GT2 European Series round of 2023 last month and claimed pole at the first time of asking. The LP Racing-entered machine went on to finish second with Leonardo Gorini and Luca Pirri at the wheel.
Motorsport.com was present at the car's launch earlier this year. Here's what we uncovered.
The mid-engined MC20 launched in 2020 is based around a carbon-composite monocoque, which makes the Maserati GT2 unique among the OEM cars developed for a category announced in July 2018 and that finally got going with the launch of the the GT2 European Series in 2021.
Among its competitors only the KTM X-Bow GT2 developed by Reiter Engineering is carbon-chassised. That makes it “the perfect starting point for a race car”, according Nicola Scimeca, boss of the Ycom, Maserati’s technical partner on the GT2 project.
Scimeca is well-known to the Italian sportscar maker: he was chassis team leader on the Maserati MC12 GT1 contender launched in 2004 during a stint at Dallara Autombili. Based in Parma in northern Italy, the company was chosen for the partnership, according to Vincent Biard, project leader at Maserati on the GT2, for “its extensive experience in composites”.
Ycom’s sportscar CV includes working on the structures of LMP1 and P2 prototypes for Audi, ORECA and Ligier among others. It also developed the short-lived Lotus Evora GTE that raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2011. The simulation work was carried out in-house by the Italian manufacturer on what Biard describes as a “cutting edge dynamic simulator” at the Maserati Innovation Lab.
Engine and gearbox
Maserati has been responsible for development of the race version of the MC20’s three-litre 90-degree V6 twin-turbo engine dubbed the Nettuno. It retains the capacity of the road car unit and the twin-combustion technology, with Biard describing it as an “evolution” of the standard unit.
The big change is the ECU to replace the standard engine electronics offering five different driving modes; it’s a full race-spec version. There is also a revised exhaust system.
Maserati quotes the same 621bhp power output for the GT2 as for the road car, though it will vary upwards and downwards according to the system of Balance of Performance that’s central to the GT2 class. The race engines are built on the same production line as its road car siblings.
"Our work was to improve the aerodynamic performance and the cooling to produce a car that is still recognisable as a Maserati" Pablo German D’Agostino
The road-going transmission of the standard GT2, an eight-speed Tremec gearbox, is replaced by a full race six-speed unit. It is supplied by Hoer Technologie from Germany.
The interior of Maserati’s first GT racer since the Ferrari Enzo-based MC12 is, says Scimeca, “pure race car” complete with a six-point FIA-homologated rollcage as per the GT2 regulations. It incorporates all the bells and whistles you’d expect, including an adjustable pedal box and racing dash.
There is space for a second seat for coaching purposes, essential in a car conceived for customers and that will predominantly be raced by amateur drivers. The air-conditioning has been retained, albeit in modified form.
The suspension is double wishbones all round developed by Ycom, while the road car has a similar layout at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Suspension design is free in GT2 because it is a BoP formula. The front and rear track have been slightly increased over the MC20. Maserati has not revealed by how much, but the overall width of the GT2 is up by 64mm on the road car.
Every panel on the GT2 is new and made in carbon composite; only selected panels including the butterfly-opening doors are carbon on the road car. The front and rear bodywork differ from their road going counterparts in the name of aerodynamic efficiency and improved cooling, but the car had to retain the look of a Maserati. The three air outlets in the bonnet are pure Maserati - a marque known as the Trident after its badge likes to do things in threes, witness the nine-spoke wheels.
“Our job was to ensure that we retained the soul of the car,” says Pablo German D’Agostino, head of exterior design at Maserati Centro Stile. “Our work was to improve the aerodynamic performance and the cooling to produce a car that is still recognisable as a Maserati. We like to say that the lower parts of the body are engineered for the racing environment and the top parts are sculptured.”
Biard points out that it was also important that the GT2 was “clearly identifiable as a track car”.