Saab 9000 at Bathurst
October 10, 2009 in Saabology
This weekend is the biggest weekend on the Australian motorsport calendar. Tomorrow will see Holdens and Fords duke it out at Mount Panorama in a race that’s had various names over the years as sponsors have come and gone. Regardless of the name, the race is always known by we Aussies simply as Bathurst.
The mountain circuit gets populated by hoons and you may have already seen that the police have imposed a 24-can-per-day beer limit on people there. Aside from the trackside wildlife, there’s also a big race.
The race is a 1,000km endurance event and it’s the pinnacle of the V8 Supercar race series. It’s red vs blue. Holden vs Ford. The classic Australian battle between evil and evil. Or good and good.
And it should be noted that they’re running on E85 this year.
The V8’s are the marquee event on the calendar, but Bathurst also hosts other events though the year. One of the bigger events is a big production car enduro. In 1992 the production car enduro, held in April, was called the James Hardie 12-Hour and Saab were there!
Turbin’s done some research on this car:
After a post here about SAAB and racing some time ago, I got thinking about the SAAB 9000 Turbo S in the 1992 James Hardie 12 Hour at Bathurst.
I asked autopics.com.au if they had some images and here are the proofs they sent me. They assure me the negs are of very high quality and you can order prints up to 20″x30″ for $99.
I was more interested in just seeing the car. It was driven by Colin Bond and Glen Seton, and only bested by a BMW M5 in 2nd and an RX7 in 1st. From what I’ve googled before but can’t find now it was only some problem with a brake pad change or something that stopped them from beating the M5. The RX7 was unbeatable though winning with a 3 lap lead. I remember watching this race.
Something somebody else recalled was the in-car radio with Seton laughing about how luxurious it was for a racing car, it still had all the electrics!! Apparently he opened the sunroof down Conrod straight!
It was an official SAAB Australia entry and I read a couple of years ago in an interview how the head of SAAB Oz watched it with the rest of the office and called it a high point in his career.
The above 9000 CS was unlucky not to get 2nd outright, a great effort for such a low-profile and supposedly non-sporting sedan. Apart from a 1st-lap hiccup it ran like a train all day and was clearly faster around Bathurst than the uber-expensive BMW M5, especially in a straight line where it could even hold onto the tail of the very rapid RX7 TTs up Mountain Straight.
Ah, them were the days.
Hopefully Saab can get back there some day. The production series races still go on with a huge range of categories available (even diesels).