ROME, Ga. (Feb. 25, 2005) — Italian sports car maker Grupo Ferrari Maserati will return to U.S. endurance racing after a 48-year hiatus, with tire supplier Pirelli Tire North America Inc. supporting the effort that starts with the 12 Hours of Sebring race March 19.©
Maserati will return with a factory car, its MC12 two-seat, mid-engine sports prototype, in the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) — albeit as a "guest" competitor not eligible for points. The ALMS will run 10 races this year in the U.S. and Canada.
The MC12 is powered by a 630-hp, 6-liter V12.
A Maserati team outfitted by Pirelli won the Sebring, Fla., race in 1957, the auto maker's last victory in the U.S. with a factory car.
Last year Maserati and Pirelli partnered for the last round of the FIA GT Championship in China.
“This is an exciting challenge in a sporting sense, but it is also a great opportunity for Pirelli to further promote its brand at a time when we are making great headway in the U.S. marketplace,” said Guy Mannino, president of Rome-based Pirelli.