Maserati celebrates a significant anniversary; exactly 60 years ago, the Tipo 61 achieved an amazing victory at the seventh edition of the Nürburgring 1,000 kilometres, the great endurance classic held at the Nordschleife in Germany which reached the height of its splendour and popularity in those very years.
With this success, the Maserati Tipo 61 driven by Masten Gregory and Lloyd Casner recorded a memorable double, winning again just one year after the victory achieved in 1960, with Stirling Moss at the wheel alongside Dan Gurney.
The cars were customised with white and blue paintwork, the colours which inspired the Maserati MC12 Stradale, as a tribute to these victories. This supercar, which dominated the early 2000s, recently handed over the torch to the new MC20, renewing the racing spirit that has always been integral to Maserati’s DNA, and which is preparing the way for the Trident’s motorsports comeback.
The Tipo 61 was the best known of the series of five models designed by Giulio Alfieri, nicknamed “Birdcage” for its unusual chassis, an intricate structure containing about 200 tubes, combined in a complex assembly that resembled a birdcage. This construction method provided a more rigid chassis that was also lighter than the other racing cars of the time, making this two-seater barchetta the ultimate and best solution for front-engined, rear-wheel drive racers.
Maserati began building the Tipo 60 in March 1959, but by November of the same year it was already being transformed into the Tipo 61, to comply with the technical regulations required to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The displacement of the four-cylinder engine was modified to 2,900 cc, while its power output became 250 hp at 7,000 rpm. Otherwise, the car retained the layout and solutions already adopted for the Tipo 60. Moreover, its weight increased from 570 to 600 kg and its top speed from 270 to 285 km/h.
In spite of its massive power output, fuel consumption was still fairly low, and this was vital in endurance races, where the Tipo 61 was able to reduce the number of refuelling stops.
In just three years of production, from 1959 to 1961, the Tipo 60 and the Tipo 61 reigned supreme on the international racing scene, with power and speed that led to a series of extraordinary wins, continuing the victorious tradition of Maserati which now, at the start of its new Era, is once again planning a future in motorsports, under the banner of the MC20.
Key technical features of the Tipo 60 – Tipo 61:
Engine: vertical straight four
Displacement: 1,990 cc – 2,890 cc
Power output: 200 – 250 hp
Gearbox: Mechanical five speed + reverse en-bloc with the differential casing
Weight: 570 kg – 600 kg
Top speed: 270 km/h – 285 km/h
Maserati produces a complete range of unique cars with an amazing personality, immediately recognisable anywhere. With their style, technology and innately exclusive character, they delight the most discerning, demanding tastes and have always been a global automotive industry benchmark. A tradition of successful cars, each of them redefining what makes an Italian sports car in terms of design, performance, comfort, elegance and safety, currently available on more than seventy markets internationally. Ambassadors of this heritage are the Quattroporte flagship, the Ghibli sports sedan, and the Levante, the first made by Maserati SUV, all models denoted by use of the choicest materials and technical solutions of the utmost excellence. Ghibli and Levante are now also available in hybrid version and are the Trident Brand’s first electrified cars. A complete range, including V6 and V8 petrol and 4 cylinder hybrid powerplants, with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. The Trofeo Collection, comprising Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante, equipped with the powerful 580 hp V8 engine, is the supreme expression of the Trident Brand’s high-performing DNA. The top-of-the-range is the MC20 supercar, powered by the ground-breaking Nettuno V6 engine, incorporating F1-derived technologies now made available in the power unit of a standard production car for the first time. Today, the Maserati range is produced at three plants: Ghibli and Quattroporte are built at Grugliasco (Turin) at the Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant (AGAP), and Levante at the Mirafiori Plant in Turin. MC20 is produced in Modena, at the historic Viale Ciro Menotti plant.