Clean history: Made clean - Swiss racing history

Wolfgang WIlhelm /Mercedes-Benz
Clean history
Subscriptions & booklets

E looking back at the career of the racing car manufacturer and Team bosses and the cars that made him successful.

The legendary Sauber C5 and C9 start again

Some of Peter Sauber's racing cars are now experiencing a second in historic motorsport Career. The Sauber C5, for example, is successfully used in the Le Mans Historique races, the runs of the Classic Endurance Series or in the ORWELL SuperSportsCup. With the open two-liter prototype presented in 1976, Peter Sauber and his company achieved the breakthrough. The car with the BMW four-cylinder from Formula 2 made the racing car maker known far beyond Switzerland. Thanks to his compatriot Herbert Müller, the first international title followed. The Swiss won the Interseries in 1976.

'The C5 was an extremely stylish two-liter car, very fast on the straights, maybe a little heavy,' remembers Marc Surer. 'Typically Swiss workmanship.' At the age of 26, the later Formula 2 European Champion in 1978 accepted Sauber's invitation to start in the C5 in the famous long-distance race. 'On Sunday morning we were among the top ten in the overall standings, so among the really big ones.' But valve damage ultimately prevented the great success.

A Sauber C9, the successful Group C racing car with the Mercedes engine, is also regularly used in historic races, including the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix the Nürburgring 20 years after the car's overall victory at the German World Championship run in the same place. This is ensured by the Australian Rob Sherrard, who owns and uses the Silver Arrow.

The Sauber C9 stands for Sauber's most successful period. In 1989, the team not only won the world championship, as in the following season with the C11, but also the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team even celebrated a double victory with the driver trios Jochen Mass /Manuel Reuter /Stanley Dickens and Mauro Baldi /Kenneth Acheson /Gianfranco Brancatelli.

It all started at Peter Sauber with a VW Beetle

Sauber's first racing car was also based on the Wolfsburg Beetle technology, an open, angular-wedge-shaped two-seater. With the car christened 'Käseschnitte', Peter Sauber became champion of the Formula Racing Club (FRC). After that, Sauber tuned the high C for the first time: 'Because I had little money, I bought an old Brabham formula3. I kept the engine, the gearbox and, above all, the wheel suspension, because I had no idea about the axle kinematics. But I designed and built the body and the new tubular space frame myself. 'With his C1, Sauber celebrated the Swiss championship title in sports cars and relegated Karl Foitek, who drove a Lola, to second place. The C in the model name stands for his wife Christiane .

Peter Sauber opened a car workshop on the company premises of his father, who runs an electrical company with around 200 employees, and began building professional racing cars for a customer, developing the C2, which, like the models of the well-known British competition from Lola or Chevron is equipped with a Cosworth FVC engine. The next model for the two-liter prototype category follows with the C3 in 1973. An important milestone is the C4, which has a monocoque for the first time a former McLaren employee: Edy Wyss The model remains a one-off for Harry Blumer and will be used well into the 1980s, then the decisive step to the C5 followed.

After the successful model, the traveling years began. At first Peter Sauber did not build his own cars anymore, but limited himself to his role as team manager. In 1979 he ventured into the shark tank of formula racing for the first time. Sauber rented three Lola Formula 3 cars from Heini Mader, who is not only a successful engine builder but also took over the legacy of Jo Bonnier, and celebrated the Swiss championship title with Beat Blatter. In the next season, Sauber switched to GT racing and switched to the Procar series with a BMW M1 with a two-car team. Peter Sauber used the frame series for the European Formula 1 races, in which Marc Surer, Walter Nussbaumer and later Manfred Schurti for the Swiss team, as a stage to show his qualities. 'The car was perhaps the best in the whole field,' says Marc Surer looking back.

Sauber tickles 470 hp from the BMW M1 engine

'Prepared by Peter Clean 'becomes a seal of quality. With factory support from Munich, the team built two Group 5 BMW M1s. Sauber orders the body from Seger und Hoffmann AG. Heini Mader took care of the power output of the six-cylinder. Nelson Piquet and Hans-Joachim Stuck win the 1,000-kilometer race at the Nürburgring in an M1. Bitter irony: they win the race for the Manufacturers' World Championship after being abandoned by the fatal accident of the former Sauber pilot Herbert Müller, who brought his compatriot his first international success in 1976.

The following season brought the group C new sports prototype regulations. The coachbuilder Seger und Hoffmann ordered the construction of a Group C racer from Sauber. Together with threeEmployees, including the chassis specialist Leo Ress, built two C6s from Sauber. The weak point of the car is the engine: a V8 derived from the Formula 1 classic Cosworth DFV. The developed strong vibrations, which are always the cause of defects.

With a small budget, the team developed the C7 with a new aluminum monocoque and new body for the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1983. As a source of power, Sauber relied on the tried and tested BMW six-cylinder from the M1, from which Heini Mader tickled 470 hp. The ninth place in the middle of the Porsche 956 Armada meant a respectable success. For the 1985 season, the Swiss ignited the new stage with the C8. The new construction corresponded to the predecessor, but was adapted to the new engine: the beefy Mercedes V8.

The first victory and the development of the Sauber C9

The car was fast, but the aerodynamics were not sophisticated. John Nielsen takes off with the Sauber during training on the Hunaudières straight. The team withdrew the nomination and concentrated on the new season, already with the scent of kouros in the nose. In August 1986 the big hour struck for the Sauber C8 Mercedes. Henri Pescarolo and Mike Thackwell won the dramatic 1,000 kilometer race on the Nürburgring, which was held in the rain. It was the first time a Sauber had won a world championship run.

The success motivated the development of the C9. With the car, Jean-Louis Schlesser won the Supercup race in 1987 at the Nürburgring against Hans-Joachim Stuck in a Porsche. Behind the scenes, work was already underway on the factory return of Mercedes-Benz to motorsport. Peter Sauber's team offered itself as a team. In 1988, the C9 began in the PCB design of Daimler subsidiary AEG Olympia and the following year as the Silver Arrows of the modern era. Two world championship titles and the much-noticed efforts of the young drivers Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger in the 1990 season with the C11 were the fair reward for Peter Sauber's successful work.

The way in the premier class - from 1983, Sauber started in Formula 1

The C291 followed, but the world championship for the Group C cars lost more and more of its value. Mercedes got out and Peter Sauber took on a new risk: Formula 1. 'We are now in the more difficult league, the Formula 1 teams are much more professional, the cars are much more exhausted,' said Peter Sauber before the start of the season 1993. Claus-Peter Becker commented in Auto Focus magazine: 'But as the ultimate perfectionist, he knows very well that the perfection of the little and the essential has always been his highest goal'.

This is how the C12 was created with the im Order from Mercedes developed the Ilmor V10. At the very first start, the new Formula 1 team earned two championship points, achieved throughthe Finn JJ Lehto. Sauber started the mission in 1993 with 90 employees.

Two years after the successful premiere, the Swiss managed a sponsorship coup and prompted Red Bull to enter the premier class. In 2001, the partnership brought Sauber the most successful Formula 1 season. With the Ferrari engines financed by Petronas in the rear, the youngsters Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkönen drove up to fourth place in the constructors' world championship. The German finished eighth in his second Formula 1 season.

C24 was the name of the last Sauber to be used in the 2005 season. At the end of June, Peter Sauber sold his racing team to BMW. Now begins a new chapter in Peter Sauber's life's work. The 'perfection of the little and the essential' as a model is in demand again.


Leave a reply

Name *