When the World Sportscar Championship was launched in 1953, including the Le Mans and Mille Miglia races, Maserati decided to enter.
However, the marque had little experience with large-capacity engines required for this class. The Maserati Formula 1 racer, the 250F, had a 2.5-litre, six-cylinder engine. A 3-litre engine was derived from this unit, fitted with twin overhead camshafts, producing 280 hp. This engine was fitted to a chassis with a De Dion rear axle. The aluminium body was designed by Fantuzzi. Although racing cars have to be functional and not necessarily attractive, this Maserati, in its simple, fluid shape, is a real beauty.
The Maserati 300S’s debut in 1955 was not successful due to various teething problems. However, the following year a greatly enhanced model won the 1,000 km race in Buenos Aires driven by Stirling Moss and Carlos Menditeguy as well as the 1,000 km race at the Nürburgring, with Moss, Behra, Taruffi and Schell behind the wheel. Thanks to the 300S Maserati took second place in the Championship, behind Ferrari.