Step Aside, People, Big Benz Coming Through

Illustration for article titled Step Aside, People, Big Benz Coming Through

The only thing to ruffle the tranquil air at dawn is the superheated exhaust from the turbocharged V8. The silhouette of a NACA duct like a space shuttle. The Sauber C9 is on its way to victory at Le Mans.


Few racing cars have had cleaner lines than this love child of Peter Sauber and Mercedes–Benz, clean lines certainly useful when up against the full, three-mile-long, chicane-free length of the Mulsanne Straight. Two hundred and forty-seven mph, lap after lap, 389 times past the starting line, with this slippery, silver pod. This is the number 63 car, carrying Jochen Mass, Manuel Reiter, and Stanley Dickens to victory. Just listen to what it sounded like back in the summer of 1989: a voluminous V-8 rumble followed by the mother of all turbo spool-ups:

Photo Credit: Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images

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This, the C11, the Nissan R90CP, the Mazda 787b, and the GT40 Mk1 are still the most beautiful LeMans cars in history.