The fourth season in the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series is soon to get underway. This will be the second consecutive year that the championship will have a more international flavour with the six rounds taking place over three continents: Europe, North America and Asia. This weekends test sessions at Misano have officially opened Maseratis single-make series and have seen more than 20 Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeos on the track, with more than 30 drivers.
Round one is scheduled for 28 April at the French circuit of Paul Ricard followed, on 2 June, by the legendary circuit of Nuerburgring, Germany. Silverstone, in England, will mark the halfway point in the season with the 14 July event. The third round will also see the Trofeo Europa awarded, a crown that, last year, was scooped by Belgian Renaud Kuppens; a driver who also went on to take the overall title.
On 25 August, on the same weekend that the Formula Indy is run, the Maserati GranTurismo MCs will be competing at Sonoma, in the United States. The circuit is situated close to San Francisco and, in 2012, was the setting for Maseratis US track return; this year Sonoma will be the first stage held outside Europe. The season will end on two Formula 1 circuits: Shanghai (China) on 3 November and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) on 14 December. Past winners of the Trofeo have been Pietro Zumerle (2010), David Baldi (2011) and Renaud Kuppens (2012).
Each round will see the drivers complete two 45 free practice sessions, two official 20 qualifying rounds, two 30 races and a 50 race with a compulsory pit stop and driver change for crewed cars. Last year longer races were only run at some rounds while drivers could spend up to 240 minutes behind the wheel at each 2013 race weekend.
Another novelty is the handicap system that will be introduced for the quickest drivers: the top five in the first two races at each weekend (determined by totalling their times) will have between 5 and 20 seconds added to the obligatory 45 seconds at their obligatory pit stop in the endurance event.
Up for grabs is the Overall title (open to all the drivers), the Trofeo Maserati (for those who drive Maserati-owned cars), the Trofeo Team (for teams), the Trofeo Over-50, the Trofeo Under-30 and the Pole Position award.