Track test Maserati MC20 GT2 |  CAR ENGINE AND SPORTS

Track test Maserati MC20 GT2 | CAR ENGINE AND SPORTS

In winter it is very cold here with high humidity, and in summer it is hot with high humidity, they say. Great. The air temperature, however, is not much of a problem, but the fog is currently creating an oily film over the Marzaglia race track. Too dry for wet tires and possibly too wet for slicks. But they are stuck at the end of double ambitions all around, with the Maserati MC20 GT2 approaching turn one at over 200km/h.

Fastened with a six-point belt, your head in the helmet is almost permanently between the “ears” of the racing bucket seat, behind you at speeds over 6,500 rpm. The V6 biturbo engine fires up, you think to yourself: Oh, everything will be dry enough. With hope. First lap at the wheel of the Maserati MC20 in the GT2 variant. Now is the time to classify force and gravity, divide it gracefully and convert it efficiently into propulsion. On an unknown track with an unknown racing device. A challenge, even if this race track is open, with curves with narrow radii combined to reduce speed. A track intended for track days and everyday cars or to supply racing cars.

Calm down

But if the GT2 is frying the finish straight at less than 220 km/h, the deceleration before Turn 1 should be fine. And soon it turns out: it’s worth it. When turning, the GT2 also pulls straight, immediately revealing the pleasant character of a road sports car, this slack in the hips after the front of the car turns in a manner of impressive stability. What? should it be? Respect for the path profile. There are no long, fast corners where the GT2 can stick to the track with its aerodynamics. According to Maserati, the three-way front splitter and rear wing, which can be adjusted in 10 levels, should achieve more than one ton of downforce at more than 300 km/h.

It won’t happen today. But moody in the middle of the engine Disco Fox. Full throttle, momentarily raised to third. Back down to second, move slightly over the edge, the Maserati seeks refuge on the ground. Change it back to the longer one on the right. This combination of curves alone shows a busy character; Open the steering wheel a little, remove the man in charge, maybe the speed entering the corner was too high.

Don’t give up

But now: accelerate, listening to the loud whistle of the twin turbochargers. Enjoyment is difficult right now, after all you have to solve the speed. The GT2 flies up a small hill, the three-liter engine, with a ratio of 11.0:1, roars throatily and aggressively. It corresponds to 80 percent of the series unit, an engine called Nettuno with a bank angle of 90 degrees, which is typical for six cylinders. The engineers chose this to keep the center of gravity as low as possible, as active aerodynamics was not an option for the road model. So why not 120 degrees? Because of the installation space. And 60 degrees? Because of the height. Is it understandable? However, the main difference lies in the two Garrett turbochargers. As in the series, they work according to the monoscroll principle, but they have an external range to make them easier to maintain during the race. It is also about 20 percent larger and works with a relative pressure of up to 2.5 bar – the V6 cannot cope with more.

Why then the same performance compared to the series? Because in case of doubt, the so-called functional equality would be reduced in the race anyway. However, Maserati wants to guarantee 630 hp and 730 Nm under all conditions, i.e. altitude and heat. In addition, the racing engine, which is designed for high-octane fuel, runs a lean mixture to increase efficiency. This is also possible because the power pressure caused by the racing catalytic converter is very low (in the MC20 series it is almost five times higher). This reduces the amount of oil needed for internal cooling. And yes, the race engine also uses an early chamber combustion system with dual ignition and direct (350 bar) and indirect (six bar) fuel injection.

Rock like a hurricane

Whatever is burning, preparing the mixture, compressing it and double-igniting it – it launches the GT2 aggressively towards the next corner, briefly in the fifth gear of the series racing transmission. Now take the appropriate stop point and move it to the second one. The transmission goes through the gears relentlessly, smooth as a piece of granite, accompanied by a strange sound that penetrates behind your left ear. It comes from transmission hydraulics. Once again the GT2 tears from one tight spot to another, looking confident, precise and at the same time bursting like a monkey swinging through the branches through the dizzying tall trees. Since the pedals and operating range are adjustable, you will find the ideal working conditions in the rigidly placed seat.

Large, thematically arranged and clearly labeled buttons and controls on the center console and steering wheel also contribute to this. It’s a good thing that the ventilation is blowing well, because the MC20 GT2 will quickly make you sweat as a frequent driver: the speed, the background noise, the bite on the intake and the liveliness of the mid-engine challenge you at all times. Until the command over the radio pulls you out into the pits. The team wants to know what happened. That’s all right, but is the low ride because of my driving style? Maybe not, the nose would be lowered by a centimeter and then I would go out again.

What a business

Well, if so, I’ll come up with something to discuss a few more rounds. Even starting is possible without any embarrassment, because the engine is elastic, like the clutch, somehow. Stuck? It seems impossible. At the end of the pit lane, turn off the pit limit, speed up, pick up the mechanics furioso, and keep playing. Unlike the MC20 series, the GT2 has double wishbones all around, not just on the front axle. With interchangeable Öhlins controls and dampers. Everything you need to set up the right driver and route setup.

In fact, the front axle is now lighter, but that could also be because I heeded the advice not to be too ambitious when cornering. And so soon you will get a good flow, now it seems more that the seating position is not 100%, more like 97%, but it does not weaken the situation. The GT2’s combination of madness and exuberance sweeps you away, the car exudes more confidence, and the grip of the rear axle seems unwavering. So another round of play, again at the finish line. Break point, anchor, drop down. It’s not completely dry yet. But the best case? Pah, then anyone can do it!

Great. Maserati is finally returning to what defines the brand.Too much. Maserati should bring more SUVs to the market.

In the GT2 tests, the MC20 remains true to itself, looking very lively around the vertical axis, without always wanting to humiliate its driver. Remarkable: The biturbo elastic V6 engine with its one-of-a-kind power delivery. The only thing the Aero has going for it is that you can’t find it on a Marzaglia bend.