Cape Town, South Africa is yet again the stage of a world yacht race. Last year it was part of the Volvo Ocean Race with the eponymous sponsor using the opportunity to show case their automotive line up. This year, Cape Town will be hosting the Cape To Rio Ocean Race 2017 sponsored by Maserati. Keeping in step with Volvo, Maserati is using the event to show case its cars and also as a platform to launch the new Maserati Levante SUV in South Africa.
The Cape To Rio Ocean Race is said to be the longest transatlantic ocean race covering a distance of 5500km. This year there are several countries participating in the race: South Africa, Argentina, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, U.S.A., Angola and Australia. The yachts come equipped with live on board satellite trackers which enable spectators to track the different crews as the race goes on.
The first stop on the way to the Maserati Village at the Victoria and Alfred Mall in Cape Town is a museum display. A small building structure has been converted to a make shift Maserati Museum. Two classic Maserati race cars flank either side of a Gran Turismo Centennial edition. Maserati ever keen to flaunt its racing pedigree has arranged the display to highlight the latest iteration of the Gran Turismo. A culmination of 100 years of craftsmanship and Italian passion. Display vehicles here include a 1937 Maserati 6CM, chassis 1543 which participated in the Targa Florio race of 1938.
Further ahead from the Museum is a slightly raised stage with Maserati’s current model line up. The center piece of this stage is the Maserati Levante. Pleasant as ever the Maserati team chauffeur us around their cars, proud of their heritage and of the company they work for. Their loyalty and passion is to be admired but not to be mistaken for sycophancy.
Maserati’s ambitions are bold. The Levante on display is a diesel. An insider informs us that their own market research shows that a majority of potential clients in search for high performance SUVs from the other automotive Marques(Porsche)present in the country opt for diesel variants as opposed to the petrol counterparts. The benefits of better fuel economy and range seemingly outweigh the excitement of a petrol engine. This being the case Maserati will be importing only the diesel variant of the Levante into the country.
Aside from the cars, Maserati has set up a lounge where potential clients and enthusiasts alike are treated to drinks(non alcoholic and otherwise). We had the opportunity to speak some more with one of the after sales market people. As he recounts his experience with Maserati over the short period that he has worked there, his sense of endearment to the company is evident. He is keen to stress that it feels more like being part of a family than of a company.
The Yachts will set off from the V and A Waterfront this Sunday. If you live around these parts please be sure to be there to show your support. But,if like us you are more interested in the cars than the race please visit the Maserati village.