The 730-HP Maserati MCXtrema Racer Was Designed Entirely on a Computer in About 8 Weeks

The MCXtrema's lead designer claims Maserati is all about innovation, and its design process reflects that.

Very few brands boast the kind of motorsport pedigree that Maserati has developed over decades of racing. Revealed during Monterey Car Week, the all-new Maserati MCXtrema is the latest race car to carry the automaker’s competitive DNA. But unlike its famous predecessors, the newest kid on the block is ditching old design methods in favor of new technology.

I caught up with Maserati Head of Design Klaus Busse at this year’s Quail, where he was present for the car’s unveiling. While discussing its lineage and some of its intricate features, Busse mentioned the MCXtrema will go from conception to a running prototype on the track in just two years—maybe even less. When I asked him to elaborate on the car’s timeline, he mentioned that this was mostly due to the car being designed entirely by computer.

Maserati Head of Design Klaus Busse with the MCXtrema. Maserati

“This car is done 100% on the computer, allowing for real-time feedback from the engineers,” Busse told The Drive. “This kind of creative energy is a testimony to this mutual respect between designers and engineers.

“The sketch to define the core lines happened in the spring of 2022, that was when my design team sat down to discuss the meaning of this car. It took us another maybe, eight weeks to design the rest of the car, not longer. It was very clear in our head what we wanted, and we knew the placement of certain components in the GT2 car, so we didn’t have to speculate,” Busse added.

I asked the German designer if designing the MCXtrema entirely on a computer instead of via sketches and clay models meant losing something special—something romantic about the design process of an Italian race car. He added that innovation was at the core of the brand’s newest model, hence the highly technological process.

During our chat, Busse did say that several components required 3D printing in order to see them come to life, per se. These 3D-printed parts essentially served as alternatives to traditional clay modeling techniques.

“At Maserati we’re all about innovation. Of course, with our road cars there’s still a heavy dose of hand modeling but with the MCXtrema it’s all about science creating art, [there was] no clay model,” Busse told The Drive.

“What we do is we 3D print components to have visual references. Certain lines of the car felt a bit stiff in virtual reality so we animated them (in 3D) to see their final shape. But this is only as a verification tool, but other than that it’s all computer data.”

Only 62 units of the Maserati MCXtrema will be made, and according to the Italian automaker, they are “dedicated to a selected, highly discerning clientele.” According to Busse, a prototype will hit the track for its first official shakedown in Jan. 2024, though you will likely have to contact your local dealer way before that if you’re interested in one. Or, who knows, it may already be too late.

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