1986 Sauber C8 Race car
One of my favorite things about working in the collector car hobby is hearing different reasons why people get into the hobby, and why they have the cars they do. More often than not, it’s for nostalgic reasons.
Over the weekend I was able to attend the 2016 Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival held at Auto Club Speedway, hosted by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, SVRA. It was my first vintage race experience, and I was surprised to see among the entries an actual Le Mans prototype-style race car. This was amazing since I had never seen a car like that in person, and it brought back a lot of childhood memories – a Le Mans prototype was my favorite Hot Wheels car.
C8 during race
The realization that, if finances allowed, I could have my own life-size version of my favorite Hot Wheels racer and compete with it, sent me on a nostalgic search of ClassicCars.com listings where I stumbled on the Pick of the Day, a 1986 Sauber C8 race car.
Designated as a Group C race car, the Sauber C8 was introduced in 1985 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was the first vehicle built in a partnership between Sauber and Mercedes-Benz. According to the listing, Mercedes-Benz wanted time to develop their M117 5.0-liter Turbo V8 before taking on a larger role, so they had Sauber create a chassis and run the team.
The Sauber C8 is largely based on the previous C7 prototype with modifications to accommodate the Mercedes-Benz V8, rather than the inline-6 used in the C7.
The listing states that this Sauber, Chassis 86-C8-02, made its debut at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans where it qualified in 17th position, but it was unable to participate in the race due to a crash shortly after. The C8 did not make another appearance until 1986 when it was entered into a full season of the World Sportscar Championship with the same team, but under the name Kouros Racing.
Side view of the C8
“For the first two races the C8 showed promise,” the listing says, adding it earned eighth and ninth positions, but it was unable to finish the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chassis 86-C8-02 saw its first victory in the capable hands of drivers Henri Pescarolo and Mike Thackwell at the 1000km of Nürburgring. This win allowed the Kouros Racing Team to end the season fifth overall in the team championship standings.
The following year, the Kouros Racing Team moved to the C9 platform and Chassis 86-C8-02 was sold to French team Noël del Bello. They entered the car in the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans and 1000km of Nürburgring, but the car failed to finish either race. The C8 was used again in 1988 but was unable to finish any of those races, either.
The car is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is offered by a dealer who wishes to be contacted for the asking price. The dealer notes that the Mercedes engine is not running, but the blue exterior and black cloth interior are in good condition.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day