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The Maserati project24 could predict a grim future for car enthusiasts

front three-quarter view of Maserati Project24

The auto industry is at a point where a decision has to be made. Should it fully embrace electricity as the ‘fuel’ of the future, or should it further develop the combustion engine? As an increasing number of manufacturers, including many start-ups (mostly Chinese), introduce their EV models, brands like Maserati are desperately trying to appeal to car enthusiasts before it’s too late. The track-only Maserati Project24 is the latest example of this. While such cars are at the top of the high-end vehicle food chain, they foreshadow a grim reality for most car enthusiasts.

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What is the Maserati Project24?

Maserati Project24 on the track.

The Maserati Project 24 is an upcoming, track-only variant, based on the road-going Maserati MC20. As with the Ferrari Enzo-based MC12 before it, the MC20 has served as the basis for a lighter, more powerful version that is not restricted by the same emissions, noise and safety regulations as all vehicles allowed to drive on public roads. Of course, the fact that it’s a track-only model means that Project24 doesn’t have to comply, at least not completely, with any of the aforementioned limitations.

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Unlike its predecessor, the Maserati MC12 Corsa, which was just an MC12 with a more aggressive aero, the Project24 looks very different from its donor MC20 car. The body has been completely redesigned and provides much more downforce. At just 1256lb (1,250kg) curb weight, it’s significantly lighter than the regular MC20, which puts the scale at 1,307lb (1,500kg).

In terms of fast hardware, the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic has been replaced by a more track-oriented six-speed sequential transmission. The Nettuno, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine now develops 740 horsepower (552 pound-feet), which is 120 horsepower (89.5 kilowatts) more than the MC20 on the road. Peak torque is also expected to exceed the donor car’s 538 pound-feet (730 Nm).

A track-only supercar gives access to exclusive events and comes with a lifestyle

Maserati Project24 on the track

In recent years, the number of track-only models based on supercars and hypercars on the road has grown exponentially. The Lamborghini Essenza SC12, McLaren Senna GTR, Ferrari FXX-K, Pagani Huayra R and Gordon Murray T.50 Niki Lauda, ​​to name a few, exemplify peak performance, performance without limitations and the best possible technology. from each manufacturer to the table.

In addition to the most exquisite materials and advanced, fast technology, you also get exclusivity. The Maserati Project24 will be built in just 62 units, which are probably already talked about. In addition, Maserati promises that no two cars will be identical, implying extensive customization options. An exclusive track-only car like the Project24 deserves an exclusive lifestyle. More specifically, you get access to exclusive racetrack events with like-minded, usually very wealthy, individuals. You don’t get that with a Hyundai Elantra.

A visceral race car experience you won’t get anywhere else

It goes without saying that driving a high-end vehicle optimized for track use around a racetrack is a sensory overload. The lack of soundproofing, the FIA-approved race car cockpit, the adjustable ABS and traction control, and the sheer variety of mechanical noises make it clear that you’re in a no-nonsense track weapon that isn’t there to hold your hand.

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Therein lies the problem for the mass car enthusiast. Some of these ultra-exclusive, high-performance vehicles, such as the Pagani Huayra and GMA T.50, even brought back the manual transmission to bring back the joy of self-shifting – something we’re seeing in increasingly mass-produced vehicles, including performance cars.

You could argue that cars like the Nissan Z and Toyota GR86 still offer a manual transmission, but that’s because both models pay tribute to achievable performance cars of the past. The GR Supra also has a manual for the 2023 model year, but that’s little more than fan service (which we’re happy with, by the way).

The problem with cars for track-only enthusiasts

Ultra-exclusive, track-only vehicles like Maserati’s Project 24 are essentially a modern-day rebellion against the synthetic feel of modern vehicles with driver assistance systems — the automotive equivalent of a strict babysitter. Of course, it’s also a nice trick to make people with enough money pay a lot for a limited-edition of something, which in this case can only be driven on a racetrack. On some mass-produced models, you can’t even disable some safety systems.

Unfortunately, all the above advantages are reserved only for those who can afford the high price of exclusivity. This puts the average petrolhead in a difficult situation. On the one hand, prices for new and used vehicles are only going to rise, and on the other hand, the number of viable cars for enthusiast cars that offer a visceral driving experience is decreasing every year as automakers either phase out models in favor of SUVs or all-electric. to go. There is also the fact that each new generation of a model is getting bigger, heavier, more complicated and burdened with ever stricter emissions.

Cars like the ultra-exclusive, track-only Maserati Project24, expected to be called the MC20 Corsa when it debuts, are race cars that don’t have a racing series to compete in. While this is certainly a recoverable situation, very few (if any) owners would be willing to crash their ultra-rare track specials in an all-out race. So unless you’re at a Concourse d’Elegance or a similar event, don’t expect to see one of the 62 Maserati Project24 cars anytime soon.