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Racetrack in Monza , Saturday 21st March 1987.

The return of the Trident to the races. 
        

It's the eve of the debut of the Biturbo in the World Touring Car Championship and also Alejandro De Tomaso has arrived in Monza. The visit of the chairman of  Maserati is without delay a proof of interest.  “For now we are waiting and see – De Tomaso said – and in the future we might consider to involve ourselves mostly in these races”. 
The first of the two cars arrived on the track yesterday for the press conference on its own, on its wheels, while the developer Elio Imberti from Bergamo has worked hard making an attemp - come to nothing - to finish in time also a second car.
“I am convinced that the Biturbo is potentially a winning car ” Tony Palma said: he is the author and the supporter of the undertaking. He decided to pay  the F.I.S.A. the 60.000 dollars of entrance fee for only one car. A successful choice seeing that with the first place in the highest category the Biturbo will take home from Monza a lot of points that could  serve, even these, to encourage the Maserati to be engaged in the development of the car in a more direct way.
On the Monza racetrack, next to the car, also Gigi Villoresi was seen. He commented the "return" of the Trident to the races in this way:
“I am very sad. I would be 40 years younger to be able to drive this car”. 

Monza , 22nd March 1987.

After many years of absence, the Maserati mark, which has founded and still founds all its prestige on the competitions, comes back on the international scene in a race on track. That happens thanks to Tony Palma initiative. He is from Rome but Sicilian by birth and has been an experieced driver with results worthy of note, such as the victory of the King Cup at the 24 Hours of Spa driving an Alfa Romeo Gtv 2.5 togheter with Lella Lombardi and Marcello Gallo.
He creates for the occasion the ProTeam with the task of making the Maserati Biturbo take part in the 1987 World Touring Car Championship .

At the beginning the technical development of the cars is entrusted to Elio Imberti, well known touring car preparer, winner for some years of the European Touring Car Champioship with the Alfa Gtv. He begins to be interested in his factory in Cavernago, near Bergamo, since the end of 1986. The first two bare chassis with only a cataphoresis treatment are delivered to him in November, coming from the Maserati factory in Lambrate (the others will come in January 1987), and the engines are given to him straight from Modena: engineer Casarini is personally interested in their development.

Some problems occur just from the beginning and concern the overheating of the engine and the efficiency of the brakes. Moreover, to be within the lowest weight of 1185 Kgs of its class, the Biturbo has obliged Imberti to fix a hundred kilograms of ballast on the cars. That is why the briar-wood panels have been left on the doors and the dashboard of a competition car! The braking system , a powerful AP with four disks and front-rear regulation system inside the passenger compartment, is gradualluy improved by adopting new parts. 
As regards the other chief problem about the carburettor engines and that is the difficulty of starting it when hot, with the two turbochargers which aim at the evaporation of the gasoline during the stops (vapor lock), it is definitely solved only adopting the IAW Weber Marelli electronic injection, which has been omologated since the 1st July 1987 with the evolution of the model. Since that date the use of a new front grill (the one of the Biturbo S) and of a rear spoiler settled at the end of the rear bonnet (the one of the Biturbo SI) are permitted. 

Engine

At the enf of August 1987, after the Brno race in Czechoslovakia, in spite of its remarkable progress compared with the first races, the ProTeam and Imberti leave one another.  Compared to a scrupolous engagement of his, Imberti regrets an insufficient collaboration from  Maserati and some contrasts with De Tomaso himself. 
The ProTeam decides to transfer its seat to Modena, in a 1000 square metres workshop, a few hundred metres from the Maserati factory, and directly organizes a qualified technical staff.  William Sala and Gianni Neri, well known preparers from Modena, work to improve the body stiffness, to remake the intercoolers and radiators in order to garantee an optimal removal of the heat. Moreover, new brake disks are adopted and above all the suspensions are re-designed ex novo. Now they allow an infinity of adjustsments. On the other hand Giampiero Lauro helps Tony Palma in his capacity as coordinator and responsible for the team, by now in view of the 1988 CIVT. 

The cars that in 1987 have raced in the classic Maserati Red  colour  wear a fine white-light blue livery in 1988. Autovox is always the chief sponsor.
A fourth all white Biturbo is drawn up with the colours of the Casio.
The Italian championship, however, is not satisfying at all for the ProTeam and the cars never reach the necessary competitiveness and reliability. In spite of the excellent potentialities of the Biturbo and the praiseworthy engagement of Tony Palma and of his team, the Trident does not let itself get involved in the plan completely and limits itself, as in the past, to supply and overhaul the engines. 
In 1988 it must be also mentioned the initiative, entirely separated from the one of the ProTeam, of making a Biturbo race in the European Touring Car Championship. The car is inscribed by the "Marlboro Conquista Team" run by the Swedish driver Thomas Lindström, European champion in 1985, but it does not get great results, in spite of a mysterious direct support of  Maserati.

In the following years, the Maserati Biturbos 2500 Gr.A, always supported by William Sala, take still part in the 1989 CIVT and in the 1990 SuperTurismo ending covertly their unlucky adventure, but leaving an unforgettable memory in the history of sports motoring and in the heart of the real enthusiasts of the Maserati mark.

Thanks Tony        

 
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