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’89 Mercedes Benz Sauber C9

Now of course, most every design has some sort of inspiration and when it comes to Italian wonder, the general design concept was inspired by that which is the Mercedes-Benz "Sauber C9" (a Group-C racer) of the late 1980's. It’s the beautiful 89’ Sauber-Mercedes C9.

Why borrowing inspiration from 1987 C9 was such an important thing to Horacio Pagani and his vision of the "Fangio F1". The reason for such was that Pagani's long-time childhood idol had been the 5-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, possibly the greatest racing driver that has ever lived. After successfully designing a Renault Formula 3 car in Argentina - Pagani's place of birth - the young Horacio was eventually afforded the chance to meet his idol and from there on, Fangio befriended his young fan and introduced him to Modena where he would later take a position at Lamborghini Automobili, and later still opening his own design/industry supply company under the name "Modena Design". Shortly thereafter, it was all history - wanting to create a supercar in Fangio's name, Horacio set off with the goal of drawing inspiration from Fangio's favourite company, Mercedes-Benz.

Additionally, Horacio tells the great story that Fangio said to Pagani that if he was going to create his own supercar in Fangio’s image, "it must have a Mercedes-Benz engine; I'm a Mercedes-Benz man". So it goes without saying then, after that wonderful anecdote, that implementing Mercedes-Benz style into his supercar was a big priority.

The Sauber Mercedes was also quite dominant in 1990, although Le Mans was the missing crown jewel from the season as the Saubers were withdrawn from the event. In 1991, Sauber's silver cars were not as fast nor reliable as the new Cosworth-powered Jaguars. Peter Sauber withdrew from the WEC at the end of 1991 to concentrate on his Formula One entry for 1993.

The Sauber Mercedes C9, driven by German sports-car aces Jochen Mass, Manuel Reuter, and Sweden's Stanley Dickens were the winners of the 1989 LeMans 24 hour endurance race. The Sauber Mercedes combination was the dominant car during the 1989 FIA World Endurance Prototype series, following up on a strong 1988 season by long-time sports car entrant Peter Sauber. Although Mercedes-powered Group C cars were entered by Suber since 1985, Mercedes-Benz did not offer official factory support until '88, in which the team grew stronger against the TWR-entered Jaguars.

During practice that year it attained the incredible speed of 245 miles per hour on the Mulsanne Straight. That record caused the administrative body to take drastic action for the 1990 race in the name of safety by placing two chicanes on the straight.


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