This is big, people. And it’s going to be great, great fun. If you own, run, or work for a corporation that might be interested in providing sponsorship for this effort and gaining some great exposure, as well as having an absolute ball, then here’s your opportunity.
The Saab 93 is one of those models that doesn’t get talked about too much.
Slotted in between the 92 and the 96, it’s sort of a forgotten model. Yet some of them were very elegant to look at, and at least one of them was driven quite quickly for a prolonged period of time.
Back in 1959, Gunnar Bengtsson and Sture Nottorp went to Le Mans and ran their little two-stroke Saab against the world’s best. There were faster cars there in 1959, but as one old saying goes – in order to finish first, first you have to finish.
The Saab team didn’t finish first in 1959. They finished second. That little two-stroke Saab maintained an average speed of over 130 km/h – including pitstops – to finish 12th over all and 2nd in their class.
That period is going to be re-created in 2008 when a race team called Retrospective Motorsport runs a Saab 93 at Le Mans.
The car will be built as a replica of that 1959 car and raced in the Le Mans Classic division, which will include a variety of high profile classic cars, as well as bevy of high profile classic car lovers and former ace racing drivers. Competitors will include classic Ferraris, Aston Martins, Bugattis…..and a little two-stroke Saab.
The car is being built from a pristine Saab 93 base car and will be set up according to FIA rules, appendix K. It will feature the following:
- Saab 93 from 1959, light grey
Chassis according to Group 3, 723 kg
748 cc two-stroke, highly tuned engine
Double barrel Solex carburator
4-speed close ratio gearbox
Complete safety equipment. safety cage, racing seat and 6 point seat belts
Racing tyres, same type as in 1959
70l safety racing tank with fast filling equipment
Water cooled drum brakes
Regulars at this site would be well aware of Swede Team Motor. They’ve been running Saabs in the SLC Cup in Sweden for some time now and have had 30 podium finishes from 33 races in their diesel Saab 9-3 race car.
Bo Lindman from Swede Team Motor is also a successful vintage tarmac racer as well, and he’s heading up this effort for Le Mans in 2008. The core of the team consists of five members, all of whom are very experienced racing Saab 93s and Saab 96s in the classic racing competitions in Sweden.
These core team members are:
- Bo Lindman – team leader
Göran Dahlén – project leader – sponsor contact
Tony Ring – sponsor concept and contacts
Fredrik Tornérhielm – project leader, chassis, body
Niklas Enander – project leader, drivetrain
Working together, this team already hold the FIA registered world record for a standing kilometer for cars up to 750cc. This new effort won’t be a sprint, of course, it’ll be a marathon. And to lend special assistance, they have enlisted the services of Alf Lavér, one of the original Saab mechanics from the 1959 effort at the same race.
Le Mans is a special race. Say the words Le Mans and the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is racing. If there’s anything else interesting going on there, well, I don’t know what it is.
The classic event started in 2002 with 300 competitors taking part and the event attracted around 30,000 spectators. Last year, in 2006, the field grew to 400 cars and the event attracted a mammoth 100,000 spectators. In 2008 it’s expected that the field will grow once again and the media from all around Europe will be following the event.
Many of the cars entered in this classic race are priceless and many of the competitors are racing veterans. The combination of racing pedigree, racing fuel and a dash of ego are a heady mix, and a recipe for some true competition.
I’ll be staying in touch with Bo Lindman and the team from Retrospective as the preparations progress. This is going to be a great event and a fantastic salute to Saab’s racing pedigree.
Bo gave a presentation on tarmac racing at the Saab Festival back in June. Tarmac racing is his passion and he does it well.
If anyone reading this is interested in assisting with this event, particularly by way of sponsorship, then please get in touch with Bo Lindman to express your interest. Retrospective Motorsport have a vast amount of experience and will also be engaging a professional publicist to ensure the best PR result for the team and its stakeholders.
That way they can work on doing what’s most important – going one better than what the original Saab 93 managed in 1959.