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Le Mans replicas of the Sauber-Mercedes C9 and BMW V12 LMR

Sauber-Mercedes C9 and BMW V12 LMR
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E. It means that every man needs a hobby. If that's true, then Johan Ackermann is overachieving his target. If you look at the South African's Facebook profile, he seems to be a big cat lover. And a friend of historical Le Mans cars on top of that, because there you can also find pictures of the BMW V12 LMR from 1999 and the Sauber-Mercedes C9 from 1989. But if you take a closer look, you will see: These are not the original cars that Ackermann is somewhere has photographed. These are replicas that he made himself.

Chassis and body from his own hand

Ackermann had already completed the Group C Silver Arrow in 2012 to such an extent that he could use it on the Street could. You read that right: The car is street legal. Since then he has further perfected the C9, for example giving it the right sponsor stickers and the correct starting number. In the Sauber double victory at Le Mans in 1989, it was the car with the 63 that drove the driver trio of Jochen Mass, Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens to overall victory. And if you already build a racing car replica, you should build a victorious car. And it worked so well that even team boss Peter Sauber sent his congratulations.

This post would certainly not have existed if the replica didn't look so similar to the original - and if Ackermann didn't do the project like that elaborately implemented. He created the tubular frame chassis and the body made of glass fiber reinforced plastic entirely on his own. In order to get the look right, the man from Johannesburg had to apply the flex several times and redesign the roof. After 16 months, it was largely finished and the approximately one tonne C9 replica was on its wheels. Later, after the car was sold, the man from Johannesburg had to try again: Mark Burger, the buyer, was simply too big for the Silver Arrow. It wasn't until Ackermann adjusted the chassis, floor pan and seats that Burger was able to drive the C9.

Sauber-Mercedes C9 with 3.2-liter V6 biturbo

Of course the replica is not powered by the real Sauber Mercedes drive train. In its chassis sits a doubly turbocharged 3.2-liter V6 engine, which is far from the 800 hp of the five-liter turbo V8 of the real Sauber Mercedes C9. But the 375 PS and a maximum of 450 Newton meters of the replacement engine should accelerate the replica to almost 300 km /h in the maximum case. At the same time, the car should be easy to drive, also because Ackermann controls the steering relativelycomfortable.

Johan Ackermann /Facebook
Both the tubular space frame and the fiberglass body are self-made.

But at some point the car was completely finished and the cats alone couldn't satisfy Ackermann's need for activity. So he started his next project: a car that pays tribute to Audi's successful Le Mans era and is powered by a five-cylinder turbo. When he couldn't get any further and the frustration increased, Ackermann came up with another idea: A replica of the 1999 Le Mans winning car BMW V12 LMR, which Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini and Yannick Dalmas surprisingly led to triumph. Which makes sense, after all, Ackermann worked as a test driver and engineer for BMW for a long time.

BMW V12 LMR with the engine of the BMW 750i E38

The drive source of the original racing car was a six-liter twelve-cylinder -Engine. The engine of the replica should be as similar as possible to this engine. So Ackermann's partner for this project, Manie Coetzee, got a BMW 750i from the E38 series as a donor car. It was powered by a 326 hp 5.4 liter V12. As with the Sauber C9, this sits as a mid-engine in the self-made chassis. The body is also laminated from fiberglass again.

On the outside, the BMW V12 LMR replica already looks complete, the sponsor stickers are already applied true to the original. The engine is now also running. However, Ackermann and Coetzee still have a few problems to solve. A cylinder head gasket seems to be damaged, a belt squeaks loudly and the exhaust sound could be a bit more emotional to the taste of South Africans. But these seem to be quite manageable problems compared to the total effort. Therefore, not much should stand in the way of a tribute race between Ackermann's Sauber C9 and the BMW V12 LMR. And who knows, maybe an Audi replica will be added soon.


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