The sixth Maserati Trofeo World Series confirms its standing as a truly global event with the announcement of the 2015 race calendar which unfolds across three continents and includes three new circuits, taking the total visited since 2010 to twenty-five.
The weekend of 21-22 March sees the Maserati Racing Academy take place at Vallelunga (Italy) and is dedicated to training new drivers under the expert eye of professional instructors and drivers. Two separate classes based on the drivers’ abilities are planned: beginners for those without any experience of competition and experienced for those with track know-how.
At the end of the ‘course’, participants will have the opportunity to take the test to gain the licence that allows entry into the Trofeo World Series (FIA Internazionale C).
There will be a competitive edge to the Racing Academy with the two top drivers awarded the opportunity to race, free of charge, at the season’s opening round (25-26 April at Paul Ricard). The two winners will share the drive of a Maserati and will enjoy the support of an instructor during the entire weekend.
The cost of the basic package is €9,500 and provides students with a complete overview, inclusive of in-depth theoretical sessions on track techniques and regulations as well as intense stints on the track. For those aiming to take part in a real race, a promotional package that includes the Racing Academy, pre-season group test session and Race 1 in the 2015 Trofeo, is available for €25,000.
The Trofeo World Series will kick off in France on 26 April, at Paul Ricard; a weekend that will also see the official start of season test sessions run. Round 2 will be challenged at Spielberg, Austria, on 24 May and will see the circuit make its first Trofeo appearance. On 28 June comes another new track: Road America in Wisconsin, USA. The Trofeo then makes a return to VIR – Danville, in Virginia, on 23 August.
On 25 October the focus will shift to Asia as the championship touches down at Suzuka, Japan, for the first time ever. It will then be on to Abu Dhabi, for the third straight year, for the final stage of the series.
The main change this season will be to the race format with tweaks made to level the playing field and make things as exciting as possible from the start.
This means that the three-race weekend, employed in 2013 and 2014, will switch to two 42’ races with no pit stop. Races will be open to crews as well as drivers racing alone. Another novelty will be the running of a 40’ pre-qualifying stint alongside the 60’ free practice session. The fastest ten competitors in pre-qualifying will drive in the 20’ Superpole (another change for 2015). The other drivers will fight it out for grid spots thirteen and below in a separate 20’ workout; those who finish eleventh and twelfth in pre-qualifying will take part in Superpole to decide the grid order for Race 1.
The starting grid for Race 2 will be determined by inverting the finishing order of the first race with the other positions decided by the qualifying lap times. To wrap things up, a handicap will be added to the top three race finishers (50kg for the winner; 30kg for the second-placed driver and 10kg for the driver in third).
In 2015, the titles up for grabs will be the Overall Trofeo, the Single Driver Cup, Twin Drivers Cup, Trofeo Over-50, Pole Position Award and the Trofeo Under-30. Whoever takes the Trofeo Under-30 will be awarded a bonus that can be used during the 2016 Maserati sporting year.
The Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo itself will be unchanged following the modifications ahead of the 2014 season.
Competing in every race will cost €125,000 with a bonus of €5,000 for those who sign up before 28 February. There is also a further reduction for drivers who have participated in at least one championship since 2012: €103,500 for enrolments made before 28 February and €108,500 for those made after. As always, the drivers will enjoy an all-inclusive package and must only cover travel costs to the circuits.
Maserati is also considering competing with the GranTurismo MC Trofeo in the CUP and GT4 international categories. Among the options on the table, to be finalised after discussions with US sporting authorities, is the possibility of racing two US rounds tied in with a Pirelli World Challenge North America event.