With the recent passing of a motorsport legend, Sir Stirling Moss on the 12th of April 2020, at the age of 90. Maserati decided to pay homage to the motorsport legend with the prototype of the Maserati MC20, the new Maserati super sportscar.
The MC20 prototype design cue is taken from the iconic single-seater, Maserati Eldorado, that has been driven by Sir Stirling Moss himself on his debut in Monza back in 1958, at the “Trofeo dei due Mondi”.
It is very fitting that the Trident Brand has chosen the date of 13 May to recall the great British driver, since there is no doubt that his victory in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix on 13 May 1956, at the wheel of the Maserati 250F, stands out amongst the many trophies in the champion’s collection. It was an amazing win, since Moss led the race from the first to the last of the 100 laps around the winding, demanding Monaco circuit. Maserati’s day of triumph was completed by taking third place as well – also in a 250F – by French driver Jean Behra.
Moss, who recorded 16 victories in 66 starts in Formula 1 Grand Prix racing, is one of the most successful drivers never to have won the world title. Sir Stirling came within a whisker of the crown on more than one occasion, finishing in second place on four occasions, and third in three championships. For this reason, he was known as the “king without a crown”. In the 1956 season and some 1957 races, Moss drove a Maserati 250F (“his favourite”, as he often recalled), beaten only by Juan Manuel Fangio. Moreover, Moss’s Argentinian rival took his 1957 title at the wheel of another 250F, confirming the reliability and superiority of the Modena-built car.
Through this MC20 prototype with Stirling Moss’s “signature”, Maserati wishes to commemorate one of the greatest names in the annals of world motorsports, who wrote some of the finest pages in its own racing history. The list of Maserati cars driven by the British driver also includes the Tipo 60 Birdcage, Tipo 61 and 300 S.
The choice of a prototype of the MC20 to dedicate to Sir Stirling is no coincidence: through this model, the Trident Brand aims to underline its sporting vocation, and above all return to a leading role on the racing circuits, after the latest world championship won in 2010 with another extraordinary car, the MC12.
The arrival of the MC20 is an important event for the Modena-based company, not only because of the racing comeback, but also because it will be the first car to adopt a new engine 100% designed, developed and produced by Maserati itself.
Sir Stirling Moss would certainly have liked the new MC20: a car that fully embodies Maserati’s truest values in terms of the performance, driving pleasure and innovative contents superlatively expressed in all Trident Brand models.
80th anniversary of Maserati’s Targa Florio Victory
On 23 May 1940, Maserati celebrated a fantastic four wins in a row at the Targa Florio. In fact, a House of Trident car was first over the finishing line of the prestigious Sicilian race for the fourth consecutive year. The driver who added his name to the winners’ board was Luigi (Gigi) Villoresi, at the wheel of the Maserati Tipo 4CL.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of this historic victory, Maserati went back to Sicily with an MC20 prototype, and drove it over some of the roads where the history of the Targa Florio was written, such as the stretch where the famous Floriopoli stands are located.
The new supercar’s development thus proceeds with tests in different conditions of use, with the aim of gathering data and information for the final fine tuning.
After the first batch of tests performed using the dynamic simulator at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, the time has now come for road and circuit test drives.
The MC20 marks the start of a new era for the Italian Brand in terms of both style and technology; it is also the first car to use the new engine, brimming with innovative technological contents, developed and built by Maserati in-house.
Through the new MC20, to be launched in September, the Modena-based manufacturer aims to underline its sporting credentials, and to return to a leading role on the racing circuits, after the latest world championship won in 2010 with another extraordinary car, the MC12.
Created in 1939, this single-seater was the brainchild of Ernesto Maserati, youngest of the Maserati’s founding brothers, who wanted to design a car that would be competitive in “Voiturette” class racing. The 4CL, with displacement of 1,491 cc, was built on the chassis of the 6CM but with a new four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder, the first in Maserati’s history. It was an extremely advanced engine for its time, with “square” internal dimensions of 78 x78mm which, with the aid of a volumetric turbocharger, developed 220 hp at 8,000 rpm.
At the car’s racing debut in Tripoli, at the 1939 Libyan Grand Prix, Gigi Villoresi took pole position with the aerodynamic version of the 4CL. Its first win came two Grand Prix later, in Naples, when it was driven by Englishman John Peter Wakefield, who went on to achieve two further victories in France, at the Picardie and Albi GPs.
In the second half of the 1930s, the Targa Florio was held at Palermo on a circuit designed within the Favorita Park, over a total of 40 laps. The first to finish was Gigi Villoresi, the pre-race favourite, who also set new records for the race average speed (142.288 Km/h) and the lap time (147.201 Km/h). Also taking part in that edition (the 31st), in his first racing season and at the wheel of another Maserati, was Alberto Ascari.
Villoresi thus won the last race run in Italy and Europe before the Second World War, a result that confirmed the Modena-based constructor’s supremacy.
More wins were to come in the postwar period. At the wheel of the 4CL, Villoresi himself was to win the Nice Grand Prix in April 1946, with more victories to follow for French ace Raymond Sommer, English driver Reg Parnell and the great Tazio Nuvolari. Further wins were recorded in 1947, and in 1948 the 4CL was replaced by the 4CLT, featuring the new tubular chassis and intake system with double-stage turbocharger.