If you think the days of the gentleman driver / racer in an Italian sports car are dead and gone, Maserati has some news for you. Its GranTurismo MC Trofeo World Series pits drivers of the Maserati coupe against one another in a single marque series, ensuring close competition on circuits around the world.

The GranTurismo MC Trofeo World Series will make its North American debut this weekend at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, as part of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. MC Trofeo World Series races, half an hour in length, are scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday

In honor of the series’ debut on U.S. soil, Maserati has created a unique stars and stripes livery for the car to be campaigned by actor-turned-racer Patrick Dempsey and stunt-driver-turned-racer Greg Tracy, best known for passing Tanner Foust on the Hot Wheels double loop world record attempt.

Maserati’s purpose-built GranTurismo MC Trofeo racers sport a more aerodynamic carbon fiber body for the 2012 season, but underneath rely on the same 4.7-liter V-8 that powers production GranTurismo models. That makes output 444 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Maserati owns and maintains the cars run by most teams, and campaigning a full season will run you 110,000 euros (about $143,000), plus the cost of entry fees, test days and travel.  We did point out that this was “gentleman racing,” not “affordable racing,” didn’t we?