The Beginnings of the Trophy
Maserati Trofeo was born in 2003 as a single-brand Gentleman Driver trophy. It signed the official return of Maserati in the racing world after a long resting period. During its first 30 years the House of the Trident collected more than 500 victories imprinting its legacy in the world of races but retired in 1957 except for some sporadic appearances. That's why Maserati Trophy was very welcomed by brand enthusiasts and it marked the OEM official return to racing that was followed by other ambitious projects, like 2005 FIA WEC participation with Maserati MC12.
The Trophy was made of 7 races. 2 out of 7 where run in the same weekend of Formula 1 rising the competition's prestige. Regular gentleman drivers were 20 plus wild cards joining in occasionally like professional or semiprofessional drivers Marc Gené, Manuel Villa, Joe Macari and Ivan Capelli. Generally speaking everyone speaks of those first seasons of the trophy in that nostalgic way people reserve to beautiful memories. To get the real spirit of the Trophy of those years we interviewed one of the drivers taking part to it from 2003 to 2006 with a special Pakelo Racing livery.
Interview with Gentleman Driver Andrea De Megni
D: Andrea, which was the atmosphere in the first years of Maserati Trofeo?
R: A friendly one, full of healthy competition. The group of regular drivers was very close and for many of them it was always more than one season. I took part to the trophy from 2003 to 2006 myself. Everything started by chance during a dinner with Aldo Polacco, one of Pakelo owners, and Claudio Berro, the managing director of Maserati Corse who was building up the trophy. I joked about the idea to partecipate as contestant with a Pakelo-branded car and after a couple of months... there I was. In Vallelunga getting my racing license, to start driving the Maserati GT 4200 in the trophy.
D: Tell us about the structure of the racing weekend.
R: Maserati organization did everything, full car assistance included. The weekend started on Friday with free practice, on Saturday you had qualifying session. Sunday was race day. The race lasted 45 minutes with a flying start. There was a mandatory pit stop during which there usually was the driver's switch. Monza was definitively the fastest circuit. We scored an average 100 mhp to reach a max 170 mhp. Personally I loved Spa-Circuit, it was the most exciting one.
D: What was like driving a Maserati 4200 and a Maserati Gransport on a circuit?
R: We're talking about cars derived from the series, with few modifications to brakes and suspensions. All the cars were alike, so the real difference was made by the driver. You had to learn how to save wheels. Wheel change was indeed forbidden so you had to face a whole race with that strategic focus. Maserati Gransport had a 8-cylinder engine, 4.2 liter, 425cv and 7200 RPM. Electronics? Basic, and it was up to the driver to choose e.g. to use ASR system which blocked the wheels in case of grip loosing. I think that nobody used it because it limited reverse steering.
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