Maserati showcases Nettuno: an F1-based engine for road cars
Maserati has unveiled an all-new engine, the brand's first such initiative in almost two decades. Designed at Maserati’s Modena facilities: the Maserati Innovation Lab on Via Emilia Ovest, the workshops on Via Delle Nazioni (Maserati Corse’s historic base) and developed at the Engine Hub situated at the famous Viale Ciro Menotti address. And, not just the engine but also the car it will power, the MC20 super sportscar, will be built here.
The new engine (or power unit, as Maserati calls it) is a 3-litre twin-turbo 90-degree V6, and features a dry sump (a shallower oil sump at the base of an engine, where the oil is cooled externally, a common practice on high-performance cars). The engine delivers 621bhp at 7500rpm and 730 Nm from 3000rpm.
The USP of the Nettuno, however, is the pre-chamber combustion system featuring twin-spark plugs, a technology derived from Formula 1. Here, a combustion chamber is set between the central electrode and the traditional combustion chamber, connected by a series of specially-designed holes. Further, it features a twin injection system (direct and indirect) linked to the fuel supply pressure at 350bar. This system reduces noise low down on the rev range, lowering emissions and improving consumption. Also on offer is a lateral sparkplug, a traditional sparkplug acting as a support to ensure constant combustion when the engine is operating at a level that doesn’t need the pre-chamber to kick in.
Along with unveiling this engine, Maserati has also spoken about a 'return to racing', something which has us enthusiasts already excited. This is because the brand has a long and storied history in motorsport, starting from its participation in the Targo Florio race all the way back in 1926. Further, the brand accrued a total of nine Formula 1 Grand Prix wins during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, at the hands of legendary racers like Juan Manuel Fangio piloting the Maserati 250F to victory in the 1957 world championship, and John Surtees, who won the 1966 Mexican Grand Prix with the Cooper-Maserati T81, which ran a Maserati V12 engine.
Maserati's most recent foray into motorsport culminated with Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini piloting the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12 to victory in the inaugural GT1 World Championship in 2010. So the prospect of a new race-ready successor to the legendary MC12 has our collective stomachs in knots already!