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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am currently setting up a Maserati Gransport as a track car and thought others may benefit from my experience. So here goes…

After having done a few track days, I decided it was time to get a little more serious. In particular, I had always driven automatic cars. While this is great fun, I felt I was missing something by not being in full control of the gear changes. I know many automatic cars now have paddle shifts, but these still operate through a torque converter and do not give a completely true feeling of driving a manual car.

I decided the best car for me would be a Maserati Gransport (although a 4200/Coupe would probably be similar). I know there are lots of great track cars out there, but the GS has some particular benefits;
  • Ferrari engine. This engine will go all day at track level revs without missing a beat.
  • Cambio Corsa gearbox. I prefer not to use a clutch pedal and gear stick, the paddles of the GS are way easier for me to use and also great fun.
  • Beautiful to look at, even after all these years
  • Sound to die for.
  • IT’S A MASERATI!
  • The GS is now great value, especially considering all these benefits.
  • I have always had an affinity for Maserati ever since I purchased my first 3200GT many years ago.
The next job was to source a suitable vehicle. Although I did own an almost new GS about 10 years ago, I sold it (and regretted it ever since). There are still good quality second hand GS’s out there and the car is reasonably solid, if well maintained.

Managed to find a GS that had a checkered past and was about half the price of a normal second-hand GS. It was a UK import and also had an engine replacement. The previous engine was drowned by going through a larger than expected puddle and water was sucked into the air intake. Unfortunately, the air intake is very low at the front of the GS and care must be taken to prevent this issue. The interior was also a little worn, although this was only really noticeable upon detailed inspection.

However, none of this bothered me;
  • New engine – Fantastic!
  • Most of the interior will probably be removed anyway.
  • The GS was otherwise in solid shape and the exterior still looked great.
First up was to upgrade the suspension. The original skyhook coilovers actually do a reasonable job in Sport mode, but are not really up to the task of serious track work and are starting to age in any case.

Also, the original control arm bushes were cracked and, since the coilovers where going to be replaced, it was also a good time to do the bushes. Unfortunately, Maserati charge a fortune (at least in Australia) for OEM bushes. However, good quality after-market versions are available at reasonable prices. All bushes were obtained as follows;
  • Front upper bushes (Part No 186493) and front/rear lower bushes (Part No 186494) from MIE Corp (www.maseratinet.com) at a small fraction of the Maserati OEM price.
  • Rear upper control arm bushes (Part No 186496) were a little harder to find and more expensive but still less than OEM. These were obtained from Superformance (www.superformance.co.uk ).
MIE Corp also supply after-market front upper ball joints (Part No 386600129) at a reasonable price, so these were changed as well, even though the originals were still reasonably serviceable.

Next were the coilovers. Apart from OEM (outrageously expensive), the only options I am aware of are from KW (www.kwsuspensions.com) and Formula Dynamics. I went for the FD coilovers as there is more information about these and FD also have numerous other useful GS performance components (see 4200 Sport Performance Coilovers).

I also upgraded to front and rear sway bars from Formula Dynamics. Warning: the rear sway bar is quite a job to replace as the transaxle must be dropped (although this is required to replace the coilovers in any case).

The results of these changes are astounding. The suspension is now way more neutral and the turn in is incredible. On acceleration, deceleration and turning, the GS stays nice and flat. In general, the GS feels way more nimble and fun to drive. I was concerned the changes may make the suspension too harsh and not pleasant to drive on road (the car is still used as my daily driver – at least for now). However, the suspension still feels wonderfully supple with no harshness at all. I would recommend these modifications to anyone with a GS/4200. There really is no downside and the improvement to handling is quite amazing. In fact, I really can’t wait to get in the GS every day now because it feels so good. You do lose the adjustable suspension, but with these changes you really do not want or need it.

Next up were spacers to provide a wider track. Although it should be noted after-market spacers are illegal for registration in New South Wales Australia. FD supply good quality spacers, although imported into Australia they are quite expensive. Alternatives are difficult to find as they have specifications that are almost exclusively used only by Ferrari/Maserati. The specs are as follows;
  • PCD 5 X 108
  • Centre Bore 67.1mm
  • Thread M14 X 1.5mm
I picked up some good quality spacers designed for a Ferrari, but had to source lug bolts separately. Although everything together was still relatively inexpensive. However, the spacers are only temporary as I plan to obtain some race wheels with lower offsets (than the current OEM wheels) that will provide the same track (and wider rims).

Next were brakes. The standard brakes are not really up to the task. Surprisingly, Brembo actually make front and rear big break kits specially for the GS. These are available from FD or Brembo (USA) directly. These are very tempting. However, by the time these are imported into Australia and GST paid they are very expensive. I may upgrade to these eventually, but I opted for the following for the time being;
This has improved braking considerably. Considering the relatively low cost, this upgrade provides excellent bang for buck and the GS still looks stock.

Next up was the exhaust. I know handling and braking are always the first things to get right in a track car, however, the GS is well known for a significant flow constriction in the pipe containing the secondary catalytic converters. Larini make sport cats that remove the constriction. I am always a little skeptical of claims about improved performance through exhaust changes. However, I managed to find a second hand set of Larini sport cats in good condition at about a quarter of the price of new ones, and since they are just bolt on, thought it was worth trying (particularly since the front sway bar must be removed and this was part of the other changes anyway).

The result really has been excellent. The GS has more power, making it feel lighter and more agile. The engine sound is also a little louder (no problem there though), but still has that glorious note.

Next up is the clutch operation. The GS is known for a sluggish clutch engagement and throttle response. After all the changes made above, this has become even more obvious. Consequently, the FD Drive by Wire enhancement module will be installed (4200_dbwem Drive By Wire / F-1 Enhancement Module). Many commentators advise this is the first change that should be made, even if it’s the only change. However, haven’t had a chance to install yet, but will advise later (although there is plenty of information about this module available).

And the future? After I am comfortable with the current set up, I think power improvement is probably the way top go. There are a few options for increasing power. But I will probably start by pulling out all the bits you don’t really need like carpet, rear seats, other trim etc. However, I am hesitating to make these changes at present as I suspect it will make it a little harsh as a daily driver. Maybe make these changes when/if the GS becomes a dedicated track car.
 

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My car is in such a condition, part of me was thinking of gutting it and thrashing it on the track but I'm going the opposite route and trying to revive it.

With the BBK, the lower mass rotors will get much hotter much faster. If you're planning on using it on the track get a $10 IR thermometer and measure the temperature after the track so you have some idea of what your braking range is. The front calipers use R33/34 pads so you can get racing pads from You searched for F206 - Project-Mu Australia . Good companies like HAWK and AP will provide performance curves so you can pick the best possible pad for your average rotor temp on the track. If you measure up the Rotor PCD on the hat you'll probably find a standard fit from DBA so you can run some proper racing rotors, happy to help if you need it.

130106


As for power and transmission - there is a shop in Melbourne where the guy does tunes on the OEM ECU, and he will also adjust the torque request parameter for you so you can get the same thing as the DBW - though as it isn't a piggypack you can't turn it off. It will cost a lot less by the time you factor in the horrific exchange rate at the moment.

I also know you can get the Euro 3 headers in Sydney, call New Model Wreckers in Sydney and ask for Avo he will sort you out. Get them installed in an exhaust shop and get them to fabricate the connection to the parts you've already done, it will cost you less than 1/4 of the Larini headers all in.

With the dry sump being pretty abusive to oil and you regularly going to be running the engine in the hottest possible conditions, I'd probably move to 5W50. If you don't mind doing a full startup procedure and not driving the car till the oil is at temperature Penrite do a proper set of shear free oils in 15W50 and 20W60. 100% PAO ESTER FULL SYNTHETIC | Penrite Oil . When changing your oil, I highly recommend comparing specs. Some 5W40 oils I've seen have a larger difference in 100 degree viscosity to the OEM recommended AGIP TECSINT that the Penrite 5W50. If you're really going to give it hell, I'd treat the oil as consumable tbh.

I'm also in the process of designing an ITB kit for my car, but if you're interested send me a PM. Power change won't be huge, but it will drastically alter throttle response when coming on and off.

When you're ready to start selling interior parts, send me a PM.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the great advice. Particularly the brakes. I don't know much about this area at all, but I do understand there is a lot of science involved and your advice is very concise.

I have already purchased the FD DBW module so will be installing that, but its good to know there are people who work on the GS in this area.

I have been thinking about headers as my GS is US spec and has cats and oxygen sensors in the headers. I assume the replacement headers would deal with this somehow.

I also thought one of the benefits of the GS was the dry sump (I believe Maserati have gone back to wet sumps for later models). However, I was not aware this was harder on oil. Will be taking considerable care in this area.
 

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AutoRacingTechnik, in Melbourne, the owner is Ray. He is always very busy, so you'll need to call more than once to reach him but he is very helpful.
 

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I've got an 04 Coupe CC in the US, 60k miles, recreational driver, that I plan to take to the track for the first time this summer. Happy to have found this thread and will chip in as I learn lessons as well!
So far: Larini Sport Cats, and relocated the O2 sensor to eliminate the check engine light, got the FD DBW but haven't put it in yet, and a new Brassworks heater core.
The heater core is apparently an Achilles heel - the OEM part has plastic ends glued to the heat exchanger, and when the glue fails, the coolant dumps all over the passenger side floorboard electronics. There are cheaper replacements than the brassworks model, but I'm feeling a bit paranoid and like to fix things once.

Enjoy, and looking forward to seeing some feedback and results from this adventure!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great to hear there are others out there still enjoying tracking the 4200. It has been around for a while but is still an outstanding track car. I don't think there is any other way to have the combination of a Ferrari engine and CC gearbox for the price.
Glad you reminded me about the heater core. Mine went a while ago and did drip all over the electronics. Had to change the door control module. I would recommend to anyone who is looking at buying a GS to replace the heater core as soon as possible (if not already done).
I am expecting to have the DBW module installed tomorrow so will provide an update then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I asked my local auto electrician to perform the work. However, one of the wires that need to be tapped into is completely missing in my vehicle. FD say this is very unusual and they have asked for pictures. With the lock down at the moment, I haven't been able to arrange. However, I will provide a report eventually. I am particularly interested to know what this wire does and how my vehicle manages without it.
 

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Thank you for sharing your project! I have owned an MC Victory for the past couple of years and recently purchased a 2008 Quattroporte GT S. After driving the Quattroporte, I instantly noticed how much quicker and sharper the steering felt than in the GranSport. The steering and handling in that 4,400lb sedan is mind boggling. It stays very flat in turns, and the smallest of inputs to the steering wheel has the car pointing its nose in any direction very quickly.

To cut to the chase, I recently felt the need to make my lighter, more race focused GranSport steer and handle more like my 4,400lb sedan. It sounds crazy I know.

Is this difference between the two mainly because of the skyhook suspension vs the fixed dampers on the GT S? Is it because the GT S has a better steering rack? Or is something just plain wrong with my GranSports steering feel?

Again, thanks for posting your journey. Your build is sounding like my end goal for the MC Victory.
 

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Did you also consider wider tires for your build? I think the GranSports handling could really benefit from wider tires. Just have not figured out how much wider to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I also owned a 2008 Quattroporte S until I sold it recently to a friend. He loves it (as did I, but just too many cars). I know what you mean about the steering. The combination of the powerful engine and the handling makes it feel like a much smaller and lighter car than it is. Not sure why the GS steering is different. However, I can confirm the FD suspension, sway bars and the wider track significantly improves the steering of the GS. It now feels like it can turn on a dime so to speak.

I have considered wider rims and tyres and will remove the spacers and fit the wider rims eventually. I intend to go for 8.5" at the front and 10" at the rear (OEM 8" and 9.5" respectively). To keep the outside positions of the tyres the same as with spacers, I believe I need rims with offsets Front 53mm and Rear 37mm (OEM 62.2mm and 55.5mm respectively). This would provide the same outside rim edge to outside rim edge measurement as currently with the spacers but provide a wider rim and allow a wider tyre. However, I have not yet decided to go for 19" or 20" (I suspect the brakes may be too big for 18"). This will depend on what sizes my preferred tyres are available in.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW - FD make rims which I suspect are similar to the specs I am planning. However, with the unfavorable exchange rate, shipping, import duties and GST these become very expensive by the time they imported into Australia. Maybe better value in the US though.
 

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I'm glad to know those modifications helped the GS. I'm strongly considering to buy all the FD goodies and really level up the MC Victory.

Many GS owners in the US do opt for those wheels. I think they look great. I do like the stock wheels better though. I was thinking of just buying wider tires for the original rims.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The MC Victory really would be the ultimate 4200 series track car with the front splitter and the CF racing seats. I had the good fortune of checking out number 1 of 180 (surprisingly made in RHD) at my local Maserati dealer a little while ago (see Maserati Gransport MC Victory - 1 of 180 Review). They really are the epitome of Maserati.

There is not that much to see on my vehicle as the mods are not that obvious visually. However, have uploaded some pics which show the wider stance and the new break rotors.
 

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Great thread... I have a 2006 Coupe GT and have been looking at a few upgrades that will make it more fun to drive the occasional track days and through lots of mtn twisties. I'd love to go for the coilovers but the cost of entry is a little high for me currently. I've seen a few others go with the FD springs and sway bars with very good results. Can anyone say how much better the coilovers vs. that setup is and/or would be? I almost feel like it may be worth it to wait longer for the coilovers since just a spring replacement will still use the stock shocks that are getting a bit old now.
 

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Great thread... I have a 2006 Coupe GT and have been looking at a few upgrades that will make it more fun to drive the occasional track days and through lots of mtn twisties. I'd love to go for the coilovers but the cost of entry is a little high for me currently. I've seen a few others go with the FD springs and sway bars with very good results. Can anyone say how much better the coilovers vs. that setup is and/or would be? I almost feel like it may be worth it to wait longer for the coilovers since just a spring replacement will still use the stock shocks that are getting a bit old now.
Coupe GT is a manual right? Sweet. I'm having trouble deciding between the coilovers or the springs/sway bar set up. In the long run, coils are probably the way to go. It's just so much easier to get into the springs and sway bars. If the shocks are in excellent shape I may just go for that set up.

Definitely interested in hearing peoples experiences with the FD lowering spring and sway bar set up.
 
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