At the wheel of Maserati’s Quattroporte Trofeo, whose seductive V-8 engine is my soundtrack, I drive through the winding streets of Beausoleil with its tight, sharp turns. So there it is: Monaco with its lively, centuries-old buildings flanked by the Mediterranean Sea. Years ago, I was in the nearby Eze for a short weekend and promised that I would return to the French city of Azur, and if I did, it would be epic. And so it is.
As I enter the Hotel de Paris, I notice a lot of gearboxes following my car with their cameras on the Place du Casino. Yes, this Place du casino-the fourth round of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Undoubtedly the epicenter of luxury, Monte Carlo is more than just an opulent holiday destination for me. I am here to experience its rich history, especially on the famous Grand Prix circuit.
At the top of the balcony of my hotel suite, the picturesque harbor view alone makes the months of planning worthwhile. Next week Monte Carlo will be my playground. The seductive roar of the engines further recharges my excitement. Look in any direction and an exquisite sports car will rush through the streets. I watch as a Lamborghini Huracán7 drives up Beau Ridge towards the casino. It’s time to join in.
Apart from the Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans, the Circuit de Monaco is probably the most famous circuit in all of motorsport — its breathtaking surroundings are unique in the world. Since its foundation in 1929, the route has remained relatively unchanged. Motorsport legend Graham Mr. Monaco Hill took five Grand Prix victories here, only to be surpassed almost 24 years later by Ayrton Senna, who took six.
Immediately after my first corner in Mirabeau Haute is the hairpin turn of the Grand Hotel, where Jensen Button and Pedro de la Rosa collided in 2000 and brought the race to a standstill. Maneuvering the long and wide Quattroporte around the notoriously difficult turn is actually easier than I expected. On the other hand, this is not a Formula 1 race, and I am not under pressure to regulate my speed from one extreme to another.
As you enter the iconic tunnel, the Maserati steadily gains speed, while the symphony emanating from the exhaust echoes exponentially. At this point, there is an undeniable connection between man and machine, since the car gracefully rushes towards the exit compared to Didier Pironi’s experience in 1982, when his Ferrari ran out of gas and he shamefully stalled on the last lap.
I voluntarily stop at La Rascasse to let a group of pedestrians pass. Michael Schumacher stopped here involuntarily in 2006, when he braked his wheels and slid right into the wall. The race organizers punished him for deliberately preventing his rival Fernando Alonso from achieving a better qualifying time. This drama does not exist.
The Quattroporte Trofeo may not be the loudest or most expensive car here, but it is a rare breed in itself. After this year, Maserati will say goodbye to the V8 engine, which makes this model, full of Italian craftsmanship, one of the last of an era for the brand. When a Ferrari SF90 Spider comes into my orbit, a few more laps seem appropriate. After all, a powertrain in its twilight intersection with one that paves the road in front of it seems to fit only on Monaco’s timeless test site.