Sauber C9

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sauber C9
Sauber-Mercedes C9, Bj. 1988 (2009-08-07 Sp).jpg
Category Group C Prototype
Constructor Sauber Motorsport
Designer(s) Peter Sauber
Heini Mader
Predecessor Sauber C8
Successor Mercedes-Benz C11
Technical specifications
Chassis Light alloy monocoque
Suspension (front) Double wishbones, coil springs over shock absorbers, torsion bar stabilizer
Suspension (rear) Double wishbones, push-rod operated coil springs over shock absorbers, torsion bar stabilizer
Length 4,800 mm (189.0 in)
Width 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Height 1,070 mm (42.1 in)
Axle track 1,600 mm (63.0 in)
Wheelbase 2,770 mm (109.1 in)
Engine Mercedes-Benz M119 4,973 cc (303.5 cu in) HL 90° 5.0L Turbo V8 Twin KKK Turbos Mid engined, longitudinally mounted
Transmission 5-speed Hewland Manual
Weight 905 kg (1,995.2 lb)
Fuel Bosch Motronic MP 2.7 Fuel Injection
Tyres Michelin
Competition history
Notable entrants Switzerland Kouros Racing
Germany Team Sauber Mercedes
Notable drivers Germany Jochen Mass
Germany Manuel Reuter
Sweden Stanley Dickens
Italy Mauro Baldi
United Kingdom Kenny Acheson
Italy Gianfranco Brancatelli
France Jean-Louis Schlesser
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
France Alain Cudini
United Kingdom Johnny Dumfries
New ZealandMike Thackwell
Debut 1987 1000km of Spa
Races Wins Poles F.Laps
21 13 7 5
Teams' Championships 1 (1989)
Constructors' Championships 1 (1989)
Drivers' Championships 1 (Jean-Louis Schlesser, 1989)

The Sauber C9 (later named the Sauber Mercedes C9 or Mercedes-Benz C9) was a Group C prototype race car introduced in 1987 as a continuation of the partnership between Sauber as a constructor and Mercedes-Benz as an engine builder for the World Sportscar Championship. The C9 replaced the previous Sauber C8.

Development[edit]

The C9 was a development of Sauber's previous C8 design, retaining a largely aluminium monocoque but considerably stiffer and with numerous other improvements. The rear suspension changed from vertically positioned spring/damper units behind the oil tank to a horizontal layout aligned with the longitudinal axis of the car. Aerodynamic changes included the repositioning of the combination oil/water radiator to the nose of the car, which allowed the use of a modified splitter plate. Commensurate with the repositioning of the radiators, the large NACA ducts were removed from the top of the door sills. The rear deck had been considerably re-profiled and the rear wing was now mounted solely on a central support. The engine was again prepared by Swiss engine specialist, Heini Mader. It had been progressively lightened with the use of a new crankshaft, higher efficiency KKK turbochargers and a liner-less block. It was a semi-stressed part of the chassis and ran a dry sump. There were no special qualifying engines and on 2.2 bar of boost it was said to produce "almost 800 hp". Maximum race boost was 1.9 bar. Maximum RPM was 7,000 but drivers generally kept to 6,500 during races. The torque curve was almost uniform between 3,000 and 6,000 rpm, giving the engine plenty of flexibility.[1] The engine retained a cross plane crankshaft and the firing order was 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2.

History[edit]

For its debut season in 1987, the cars were run by Kouros Racing, named after the fragrance brand of its parent company, Yves Saint Laurent, although officially backed by Mercedes-Benz. The team managed a mere twelfth in the teams standings, scoring points in only a single round. For 1988, Kouros withdrew their sponsorship and the team was renamed Sauber Mercedes. This coincided with a change of senior management at Mercedes and the announcement by new deputy chairman Prof. Dr Werner Niefer that the company would support Group C sportscars.[2] As a result, Mercedes was sponsored by AEG-Olympia – AEG being owned by Daimler-Benz at the time, effectively giving the team full factory support. They managed to finish second in the championship behind the Jaguar XJR-9 with five wins for the season. Unfortunately at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team suffered an embarrassing setback when they were forced to withdraw due to concern over their Michelin tires after Klaus Niedzwiedz suffered a blow out at high speed.

Finally, in 1989, the car was able to achieve great success. Besides replacing the black colour scheme with Mercedes' traditional plain silver scheme and reducing AEG to the role of minor sponsor, the older M117 5.0L turbocharged V8 engine was upgraded to the M119, which replaced steel heads with new four-valve aluminium heads. The engine had a Group C capacity equivalence of 8.454 litres. The C9 was able to win all but one race in the 1989 season, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. During qualifying, the Baldi/Acheson/Brancatelli C9 recorded a speed of 400 km/h (248 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight.[3] In spite of this, it was the car of Schlesser/Jabouille/Cudini which occupied pole position on race day. The Sauber C9s would go on to finish first, second and fifth in the race. Mercedes driver Jean-Louis Schlesser would end up taking the driver's championship that season.

The C9 would be replaced by the Mercedes-Benz C11 from the second race onwards of the 1990 season, when it took one final win in the first race.

Achievements[edit]

The Sauber C9 did not enjoy a lot of success in 1987, its first season, finishing on only three occasions. The car's speed potential was made clear when Johnny Dumfries set a lap record at Le Mans before retiring with gearbox failure. Mike Thackwell also took pole position at Spa. Schlesser won the final race of the year, the non-championship Nurburgring Supercup, which was the only win in an otherwise bleak season for the Swiss-German team.[4]

The C9 won five races in the 1988 World Sportscar Championship, showing much-improved reliability and placing second in the overall standings behind the winning Silk Cut Jaguar team. Drivers Schlesser, Baldi and Mass finished second, third and fifth respectively behind Jaguar's Martin Brundle in the driver's championship. In the 1989 World Sportscar Championship, the Sauber C9 won all except the second race at Dijon Prenois, where they were defeated by the Joest Porsche 962 of Bob Wollek and Frank Jelinski. Sauber drivers also filled the top four spots in the drivers standings with Schlesser winning the championship outright. High performance was only one notable aspect of the C9s ability; its reliability was another. The car failed to finish only twice in the 1989 season but on both occasions, the race was won by the other team car.

Reaching 400 km/h (248.0 mph) during the qualifying sessions of the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Sauber C9 proved to have one of the highest top speeds in the history of the competition at Le Mans. The C9's mark was only exceeded by the WM Peugeot P88, which achieved a speed of 405 km/h (251.1 mph) in the 1988 race.[5] These speeds led to the introduction of two chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight from 1990 onwards.

Complete World Sportscar Championship results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Points WEMCP
1987 Kouros Mercedes Group C JAR JER MNZ SIL LMS NOR BHC NÜR SPA FUJ N/A N/A
France Henri Pescarolo 61 22
New Zealand Mike Thackwell 22
Formel Rennsportclub 21
Germany Manuel Reuter 21
Kouros Racing France Henri Pescarolo 27 22
Japan Hideki Okada 27
United Kingdom Johnny Dumfries 22
New Zealand Mike Thackwell 27 22
62 35
United States Chip Ganassi 35
United Kingdom Johnny Dumfries 35 DNS
Germany Manuel Reuter DNS
1988 Team Sauber Mercedes Group C JER JAR MNZ SIL LMS BRN BHC NÜR SPA FUJ SPK 275 2nd
France Jean-Louis Schlesser 61 1 2 2 2 3 1 3 5 1
Germany Jochen Mass 1 2 2 DNS 1 3 5 1
United Kingdom James Weaver DNS
United Kingdom Kenny Acheson 5
Italy Mauro Baldi 1 2 2 DNS 3
62 3 23 1 25 2
United Kingdom James Weaver 3
United Kingdom Kenny Acheson DNS
Germany Klaus Niedzwiedz DNS
France Jean-Louis Schlesser 1 24
Germany Jochen Mass 1 24
Sweden Stefan Johansson 23 1 2
France Philippe Streiff 25
1989 Team Sauber Mercedes Group C SUZ DIJ JAR BHC NÜR DON SPA MEX 120 1st
Italy Mauro Baldi 61 1 3 4 1 2 2 1 27
France Jean-Louis Schlesser 1
United Kingdom Kenny Acheson 3 4 1 2 2 1 27
62 2
France Jean-Louis Schlesser 2 1 3 1 1 23 1
Germany Jochen Mass 2 1 3 1 1 23 1
1990 Team Sauber Mercedes Group C SUZ MNZ SIL SPA DIJ NUR DON MON MEX 67.5 1 1st 1
Italy Mauro Baldi 1 1
France Jean-Louis Schlesser 1
Germany Jochen Mass 2 2
Austria Karl Wendlinger 2

^1 Points also scored by the Sauber C11

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Super Sports: The 220 mph Le Mans Cars", Miura Publishing, 1988
  2. ^ Directory of World Sportscars, Michael Cotton, Aston Publications Limited, 1988 p.183
  3. ^ 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours, Moity, Christian & Teissedre, Jean-Marc, Autotechnica, Macro Derrick & Prowse Limited, Colchester, UK
  4. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/type/results/Sauber/C9.html
  5. ^ Mulsanne's Corner: Maximum Speeds at Le Mans, 1961-1989

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bamsey, Ian (2006). Sauber-Mercedes C9: The Return of the Silver Arrows. Crowood AutoClassic Series. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wilts, UK: The Crowood Press. ISBN 186126836X. 
  • Starkey, John (2002). Sauber-Mercedes, World Champions: The Group C Cars, 1985–1991. St. Petersburg, FL, USA: Gryfon Publishers. ISBN 0970325967. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
McLaren MP4/4
Autosport
Racing Car Of The Year

1989
Succeeded by
Tyrrell 019