Team Goh Maserati Progress
With the Super GT season starting in just two weeks’ time,
pre-season testing is in full swing.
for the introduction of Maserati to the domestic ranks have presented
the opportunity for some fascinating comparisons between the MC12
and the leading GT1 racer from an ever so slightly earlier era.
Whilst the Team
Goh MC12 tested only on the longer configuration of the Vallelunga
circuit before being shipped out to Japan, circuit sources were
prompted to recall some interesting statistics.
With the original
MC12 being prepared to hit the tracks in 2004, Mika Salo produced
a best lap of 69 seconds on the short circuit at Vallelunga. That
compared very favourably indeed to the best time set back in 1998
by a Mercedes CLK-GTR, with 1999 updates, pedalled by Mark Webber,
who set a best of 68 seconds in a car rightly regarded way back
then as the cream of the GT1 crop. Remember of course that in 1998
terms the MC12 is a GT2 machine!
There is a similarly
interesting comparison to be made between the Super GT spec car
being shaken down for Team Goh on the long circuit and the FIA GT
spec car when it tested on the same track configuration.
The FIA car
with Pirelli rubber and the narrower wing set a best of 1:30.9,
while the Team Goh-run Super GT spec. car, on Bridgestone rubber,
set a best time an astonishing 2.8 seconds faster.
That's a telling
difference, but it is unlikely to be enough for the big Maserati
to trouble the factory backed Nissan, Honda and Lexus cars in GT500.
had set the team a target of being a full 5 seconds faster than
the FIA spec car if they were to take the fight to their Japanese
competition, and there is still work to be done in order to close
The first Suzuka
test with the Goh car saw that point of view very firmly endorsed,
Seiji Ara posting a best effort of 1:55 in the Maserati, which compares
unfavourably to the best posted by a team running one of the Nissan
Fairlady Z GT500 racers - with a 1:52.4.
ominously still, sources suggest that a new spec. Honda NSX has
posted a lap in an astonishing 1:51.6. Putting that in perspective
it matches the pole time set by the Team Goh Audi R8 at the Suzuka
1000kms in 2001!
The pace of
improvement in the GT500 cars is remarkable: the leading cars are
now 2-3 seconds per lap faster than 4-5 years ago.
Goh though is not downhearted: "I
think we can find most of the difference. There is a little bit
of work that can be done on aero with the rear gurney and a deck
gurney and by modifying the dive planes a little. What we do have
though is a very good car in the rain."
The work continued
this week at T.I Aida but progress was slowed for Team Goh with
an oil cooler failure, possibly linked to a minor vibration problem,
or perhaps because the Italian thoroughbred responded badly to the
almost freezing weather conditions.
officials haven't helped matters either, with a 3-4 day delay in
the import procedure for the oil supply for the car.
A phone call
to the Maserati importer revealed that the standard spec. of lubrication
for the Ferrari Enzo, which of course shares the MC12’s basic
DNA, would suffice.
be reading much, much more on the Super GT season to come here on
Test - Unofficial; Best Lap Times (22/23 February)
23 NISMO Z 1:52.34
22 AUTECH Z 1:52.72
8 ARTA NSX 1:52.79
12 IMPUL Z 1:53.05
66 Supra 1:53.35
1 CERUMO SC 1:53.51
350 NISMO Test Car(Z) 1:53.62
100 RAYBRIG NSX 1:53.78
430 TRD Test Car(SC) 1:54.35
6 Mobil 1 SC 1:54.57
51 MC12 1:55.03
32 EPSON NSX 1:55.66
25 Supra 1:55.69