We'll forgive you if you haven't heard of the Superstars Series. It's only been around since 2004 (the International category since 2007) and all of the races take place in Europe – in fact over half took place this season in Italy. But similar to other national touring car championships – Germany's DTM, Japan's Super GT and Australia's V8 Supercars come to mind – the Superstars Series packs some serious racing machinery.

Take the Maserati Quattroporte EVO, for example. If that sounds badass to you, just look at the thing, because it is. It's based, of course, on the Trident marque's four-door model, which is already desirable enough on its own, but has been race prepped with an extreme wide-body kit and all the trimmings. It's the car with which Andrea Bertolini – a long-time Ferrari and Maserati factory driver who took the FIA GT1 championship in the MC12 he helped develop – and his Swiss Team just clinched the championship.

It's the first time that a Maserati has won the series title, previous champions having raced cars based on the BMW M3, Audi RS4 and Jaguar S-Type R. The formula calls for V8 engines, no turbos, based on four-seaters with two doors or four, and the rest of the field is made up of everything from the Chevy Lumina (a rebadged Holden) and Cadillac CTS-V to the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Porsche Panamera S. All in all, ten marques are represented, but this year Maserati was crowned champion of them all. Check out the machine with which they did it in the high-res image gallery and the press release after the jump.
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Bertolini crowned Superstars champion with his Maserati Quattroporte EVO
14/10/2011 - Vallelunga

A stunning double win on the Vallelunga track in the International Superstars Series gave victory to Swiss Team's Andrea Bertolini in his Maserati Quattroporte EVO.

The Modena-born driver adds another trophy to his cabinet almost a year after winning the FIA GT1 World Championship in the Maserati MC12. Proof, if it were needed, that Bertolini and Maserati have a winning partnership. It is worth noting that over its long and award winning lifetime, this is the first racing title captured in the Maserati Quattroporte, placing it amongst the historic ranks of Maseratis which have triumphed both on road and track.

Bertolini seized victory in the Superstars Series in the very last race of the season (on Sunday 9 October), staging a glorious comeback against Luigi Ferrara (Mercedes AMG C63) and Alberto Cerqui (BMW M3 E92), who enjoyed advantages of 20 and 9 points respectively on the eve of the race at Vallelunga. But Bertolini soon bridged the gap with his double win, notched up after taking pole position in the qualifying rounds on Saturday afternoon.

Everything went Bertolini's way in the morning sunday race, which saw him take the lead from the first bend. He also recorded the fastest lap, earning another crucial point for the standings. Maserati's domination was made even more emphatic thanks to Alessandro Pier Guidi, Bertolini's Swiss Team team-mate, who took second place.

In race two, Bertolini had to fend off Gianni Morbidelli (Audi RS4), who made a last-gasp attempt at victory, challenging the Modenese driver for the lead. Also on the podium was the other Swiss Team Maserati driven by Pier Guidi. Luigi Ferrara, who encountered mechanical problems during the trials, failed in his attempt to defend his position, while Cerqui and Biagi, the other two drivers vying for the title, failed to give the Maseratis any real worries.

The result was nonetheless suspended for several hours due to an appeal lodged by the CAAL Racing team against the Modenese car. After the necessary checks, the race officials confirmed Maserati's win as legal, only for Luigi Ferrara's team to make a further appeal against their decision. At this point, the National Court of Appeal must decide on the matter, which will thus be investigated in the near future. Bertolini is champion of the International Superstars Series 'sub judice', pending appeal.

Andrea Bertolini: "It's totally amazing! I live for racing and my aim is always to win. It's almost a year since I won the FIA GT1 championship and this season I've changed team, format and car. I spent the winter working hard, focusing on one thing only: doing everything I could to win this championship. Now I've succeeded, but it's down to a huge team effort. I always dedicate my first wins to my family but this time I want to add Guido Bonfiglio too (Swiss Team manager) and the whole team. It was a tough championship for us because we raced one weekend fewer than our rival teams. It's true that there were some difficult moments, but we managed to remain focused throughout. We did really well in terms of managing the situation and putting pressure on our rivals. We're used to risking everything for victory in the last race, which is why we didn't make any mistakes. Now we have to put this win behind us and start working towards next year's championship, where all eyes will be on us".

Alessandro Pier Guidi: "I joined Swiss Team with the championship already underway, nonetheless I'm really pleased with the results we've achieved and I would certainly draw up a positive report. I had some lucky and some not-so-lucky moments, but what matters is that we never for a second failed to be competitive. I'm happy for Andrea and for the team, for the title we've taken. I'd like to thank Maserati and Swiss Team for their hard work and support. Next year I'll try to do even better".
The prize-giving ceremony is scheduled for the next motorshow in Bologna, on Sunday 4 December.

RACE 1
1 Andrea Bertolini - Maserati Quattroporte EVO
2 Alessandro Pier Guidi - Maserati Quattroporte EVO + 3.992
3 Alberto Cerqui - BMW M3 E92 + 5.409

RACE 2
1 Andrea Bertolini - Maserati Quattroporte EVO
2 Gianni Morbidelli - Audi RS4 + 0.538
3 Alessandro Pier Guidi - Maserati Quattroporte Evo + 5.150

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS FINAL STANDINGS
1 Andrea Bertolini - 178 points
2 Luigi Ferrara - 165 points
3 Alberto Cerqui - 163 points


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's one gigantic race car.
      grandprixc
      • 3 Years Ago
      It may have claimed the title, but that thing sure is butt ugly.
      Bill Burke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Look out once Maserati gets those Chrysler platforms and engines in it's new sedans, the rest of the field will be blown away. We're talking serious improvements here.
        Reece Lightning
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        as opposed to the ferrari v8 and the near ideal weight distribution the quattroporte already has? you're a joke mate
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Wow, MoPar fanboy, much? Well first off, NO Maserati will be getting any Chrysler engines. They'll still be using their own engines. The platforms will be the only things that will be utilized.
          bennyking2003
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Maserati will be using Chrysler engine & platform for future models such as the CUV (forgot name). But as for the current models such as the Gran Turismo, Quattroporte, there are no such rumor that they will be using Chrysler engine for future model years.
          Bill Burke
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Sorry Elmo, but as I have (I could be wrong)read they will be using a smaller version of the Chrysler Pentastar V-6 with a twin turbo now in development for use in future Chrysler products as the engine in the smaller Maserati. The main reason is lackluster economy with the present engine.The input Maserati will have in the next generation Chrysler LX platform development should not be minimized, as I expect the final product, tweeked to each brand, will be world class. Therefore, my opinion on Maserati's racing future being improved by Chrysler know how and resources. Yes, a true Chrysler fanboy's point of view, but not to be dismissed as inaccurate at this time I believe.
      thealzabo
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The formula calls for V8 engines, no turbos, based on four-seaters with two doors or four," So basically, this series is what I wish NASCAR was...
        Dump
        • 3 Years Ago
        @thealzabo
        Right, this racing series is what NASCAR should be today. "Leveling the field" with rev limiters and common body shells is really boring...not to mention the antiquated oval tracks....
      Nowuries
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great job Maserati!! Can't wait to see what the new bigger/smaller versions of the Quattroporte will be like...
        Bill Burke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nowuries
        Me too. See my comment. These new Maseratis will be built off Chrysler platforms with Chrysler engines for power. Imagine how good they will be then Nowuries.
      David S.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm sure there's something very nice looking underneath that god-awful livery.
      Kris
      • 3 Years Ago
      My favorite touring cars series! Too bad I can't watch them in my country.
      Chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      That needs to go into street legal production...
      Lowland
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here a video of that series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMADX5HvcAA
      jvshenderson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whose idea was it to shrink the headlights down to 2 pinholes? It makes it look like a very large, very sad animal.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jvshenderson
        1. It's for aerodynamic reasons. 2. They don't run into the night, so they use tiny lights like that to flash slower drivers to move out of the way.
          jvshenderson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Maybe so, but they could still hide them behind a sheet of plastic like the production Quattroporte. Or the Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, and Cadillac racecars in the pictures above that all have more attractive stock-looking headlights...
      Luke Lau
      • 3 Years Ago
      -makes grabby hands- I WANT.
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