Maserati back on track 40 years on

MC12 supercar returns the Trident to top-line sportscar competition

Maserati has returned to mainstream sportscar racing after an absence of 40 years. The Modena marque's new MC12 supercar made its competition debut at the Imola encounter of the FIA GT Championship in early September ahead of what is expected to be a full campaign next season.

A pair of V12-powered MC12s, a design based on the Ferrari Enzo, are contesting the final three rounds of this Europe-based series. Up to eight of the cars are then expected to be built for use next season by customers in FIA GTs, other sportscar series and, possibly, Le Mans.

The cars, which are being run by the Italian Al Corse team, are competing 'outside' the series because the MC12 was initially denied hornologation for being too aerodynamically extreme. It's been allowed to compete in these three races so that its performance can be assessed before a decision is made on the form it must take to race in the future.

Ex-F1 stars Mika Salo and Johnny Herbert led the driver line-up at Imola, as they will at Oschersleben and Dubai. They partner Andrea Bertolini and Fabrizio de Simone.

Maserati has not been a front-line participant in international sportscars since 1963-65 when Maserati France contested Le Mans with the V8-engined Tipo 151; André Simon led the early stages of the '63 event.

This year, an uprated version of its Trofeo one-make car has competed in rounds of the Grand-Am series, including the Daytona 24 Hours.