Italy's Superstars Series may have seemed like an insignificant championship in the past, but drivers and manufacturers alike are beginning to take notice of what is rapidly emerging as Italy's equivalent of Germany's DTM, Japan's Super GT or Australia's V8 Supercars series. One of those drivers is Tonio Liuzzi, and one of those manufacturers is Mercedes-Benz.
Touring car series proliferate in countries around the globe. The UK has the British Touring Car Series, Germany has DTM, Australia has V8 Supercars, Japan has Super GT and Italy has the Superstars Series.
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.
The cynical among us learned long ago that life just isn't fair. Those still holding out hope, however, can look to the European touring car championships for cold, hard evidence. While Americans are stuck with NASCAR and their "Car of Tomorrow", Europeans get to watch machines like DTM Audis, Belgian Volvos and Italian Maseratis duke it out on some of the world's finest race tracks. (Don't even get us started on Japanese SuperGT and Australian V8 Supercars.)
Patience is not a virtue of those who are used to going fast. While Maserati just took the wraps off the new GranTurismo MC GT4 racer, deliveries to customer racing teams won't begin until October. So what's a team hellbent on racing Tridents in Europe to do in the meantime? Make their own Maserati racer.