In 1986 Sauber Motorsport AG was assigned by Mercedes to develop and maintain a sports car for the upcoming world championship, using a newly developed Mercedes engine. Sauber-Mercedes engine manufacturer Heini Mader Racing Components SA reworked the 5-litre engine and loaded it up using two KKK turbo chargers, making the motor reliably able to produce 700bhp during a 24 hour race. With an increase of boost pressure, even 930bhp could be achieved for short periods.
The main sponsor of the campaign was Mercedes’ subsidiary AEG. Accordingly, the Sauber Group C livery was designed in the style of a multi-layered circuit board, finished in a dark blue colour scheme with AEG branding on the front, rear and side panels of the car, such as the example offered today.
One of the most competitive teams in the 1988 world championship, Team Sauber-Mercedes gained second place in the series accumulating five race victories in a row. Mercedes-Benz first announced their engagement into the sports prototype world championships at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show.
All active Sauber cars were thus repainted as Silver Arrows and the revised M119 engine was introduced. With notably larger turbos and a four-valve set up, it proved to be a reliable unit, delivering a further 20bhp with improved fuel consumption. In 1989 a Sauber C9 won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, with further placings in Second and Fifth, ultimately winning the world championship in that year with a total of 7 wins in 8 rounds.
After winning the world championship in 1989 Sauber Motorsport AG decided to keep a single car for its own museum, uniquely finished in its original AEG livery of the 1988 season. This is that example, the only one to still wear its original factory livery from new.
The Sauber C9 presented here was displayed in the Mercedes Sauber museum for over 20 years until purchased by current vendor in 2010. The C9 was purchased directly from Peter Sauber by the current owner, who is the only private owner from new.
In the current ownership the Sauber has enjoyed much restoration work. In 2015 the front monocoque was restored by Schwaller Motorsport in close accordance to the original CAD schemes, with the reassembly being carried out by renowned restorer Kaeser Fahrzeugbau of Nuglar in Switzerland. Once completed, the rebuilt monocoque was then reunited to the original tubular chassis. The entire restoration process is well documented with expert reports, photographs and bills to support the work carried out.
A fresh M117 engine was commissioned for the car and built by original Sauber C9 engine builder Heini Mader, using a huge amount of unused original components from Swissauto in Burgdorf. A modern engine electronic management system was fitted by Helfenstein company, however the original Bosch Motronic 1.7 system (including wiring loom and sensors) is offered with the car.
Once completed the C9 campaigned at the 2015 Vernasca Silver Flag hill climb event in Italy, and went on to compete at both the Arosa Classic Car and Steckborn-Eicholzli speed hill climb events of that year.
Sauber C9 group C motorcars of this era were driven by renowned racing drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Jochen Mass. This unique example, offered with the relevant FIA papers, is eligible for many historic motoring events. A fantastic opportunity to campaign one of the most iconic group C racing cars ever built in some of the world’s most competitive motor racing series of the current day.