Spyker Squadron finish 7th at Silverstone

SILVERSTONE, September 12, 2010 – Peter Dumbreck and Tom Coronel finished in seventh place in today’s Autosport 1000 KM of Silverstone, the final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series season.

You can read the full report here. But this little tidbit is pretty important….

In his final stint Dumbreck pushed hard to keep the BMW Team Schnitzer car behind him. With Spyker Squadron eventually finishing one place ahead of the BMW it also means that Spyker has taken third in the constructors championship, ahead of BMW, Aston Martin and Lamborghini.

A podium finish in the championship!!! It just goes to show the exceptional reliability of this car, which has finished every race this year.

Congratulations Spyker Squadron and here’s to an even better 2011 in the Le Mans Series.

2010 Spyker Squadron Silverstone LMS Race Day from Spyker Squadron on Vimeo.

An update from the Bonneville Salt Flats

I just received this update from Bertil, the guy who was going for a class record at Speed Week, at Bonneville salt flats last week. I featured Bertil’s car just a few days before he was due to head out to Bonneville.

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Hello friends!

This weekend I returned home from the Bonneville Salt Flats…1500 miles each way! Late last Tuesday, after finally satisfying the tech inspectors (who were all very curious about this unusual car) we were able to make a few runs. We were not able to reach the speed needed to break the record.

Wednesday, I took apart the engine, and determined we had mechanical problems I could not repair at the Flats, so we decided to head home.

This adventure is so totally new and there is a lot to learn! The conditions at the Flats are unlike anything we can replicate in the dyno….the altitude and the lack of humidity for starters!

It made me feel a bit better when several Salt Flats veterans said it is “unheard of” to break a record on the first visit. Nobody does it in less than 3, and 3 to 7 is more the average. So I am starting preparation for next year. Now the goal is to be the first guy to break the record in two attempts!

Thanks for all your interest. I am not discouraged; I have a new game plan, so here we go!

Bertil

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My thanks to Bertil for the update. I think it’s absolutely fantastic when Saabs are involved in this type of stuff. The commitment from guys like this is part of the fabric of what we call the Saab Spirit.

Still more information on the Bonneville Saab

I’m fascinated by this story. Here are some related posts:

I’ve received an email from Bertil’s wife. We’ll call her Mrs Bertil for now. Bertil himself was rushing around like mad getting ready for the Bonneville assault.

Here’s what Mrs Bertil had to say:

He bought the 1966 Saab from a guy in California back in 2001. He raced this model back in the 60’s in Sweden. It was in pretty bad shape, and sat in his shop gathering dust for about 5 years, as he was too busy with his business, Bertil’s Racing Engines, to give it any attention.

He started working on the chassis sometime in 06. But what really got him going was accompanying and helping a friend to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2007. He got the idea to make a super-duper Bertil’s engine to break the record for this class.

He sold his shop and machinery in spring of 2009, which moved the project to our garage! (He still has access to the shop when needed.) Last summer he was planning to make an attempt, but in a last minute effort to get the most horsepower, he burned a piston and did not have a replacement. Quite a disappointment.

But this year he is well prepared, with plenty of spare parts. I should clarify that he is not driving the car himself; the aforementioned friend will do it, since Bertil’s back is giving him trouble and he requires surgery soon.

We’ll let you know what happens next week! Pat (that’s Mrs Bertil to us – SW)

I look forward to hearing about it!

Godspeed, little Saab!

Some more information on the Bonneville Saab

I ran a brief story a few days ago on a guy who’s taking his two-stroke Saab 96 to Bonneville Speed Week.

My email to Bertil didn’t see a reply come into my inbox (Speed Week starts in a day or so and I guess there’s more important things going on) but I did receive some more information from Ray K.

This info was published in the Spring edition of Vintage Views, the magazine of the Vintage Saab Club of North America:

I am Bertil S, owner of Bertil’s Racing Engines, Inc. I am a 45+ year veteran builder of VW and Toyota engines for various formula racing series, with many championships.

Several years ago I found an ad for a 1966 SAAB Monte Carlo in a vintage magazine. Since I had tuned and raced similar SAAB’s in Sweden in the 60’s, I decided to buy this car and restore it in my spare time. It took a few years to get started, and then took longer and was more work than I expected. But I wanted it to be done right.

Since I had been helping a friend at the Bonneville time trials in 2007, I decided this SAAB will go to the Salt Flats! I missed the competition last year because of a last minute mistake in dyno testing. I lost a piston and had no spare. I plan to be ready for this year, with several spare pistons in inventory!

The engine you see in the car is my street engine, 900 cc with 3 Solex down draft, 75 HP. The race engine is 750 cc, with 3 Solex side draft carburetors from the Sonett and tune pipe, 94 HP.

Again, it’ll be interesting to see what Bertil’s up to there in Bonneville.

My thanks to Ray for the extra info.

Saab ‘tipped’ to enter WRC – with a car that won’t even be made?

Re-posted.

Even CAR Magazine and Autoblog are writing about this issue now, but none of the excitable writers are doing the maths when it comes to Saab releasing a new car that would be suitable for the WRC.

So I’ll run this story again, for those of you who are still seeing things pop up on the internets that make you a little excited.

I’ll be happy to be wrong on this as I’d love to see a 92 come sooner and I’d loooooove to see Saab in the WRC, but I just can’t believe it’ll happen in the timeframe that people are talking about.

See why, below.

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I received a few emails about a story that I would have liked to cover if the webs were working, though. The first one was from Portugal and the story then spread to an English-language racing paper called Autosport. They made the following declaration:

The World Rally Championship’s return of retrospective manufacturers looks set to continue, with Saab now tipped to follow Mini back to the sport’s highest level.

Saab, which last competed in the WRC in 1979, has been linked to a possible entry in 2012, with the company’s first World Rally car running off a possible 9-1 or 9-2 base car. The engine for the car would be likely to come from BMW, meaning a universal 1.6-liter turbocharged motor for the Mini and Saab.

They go on to say that meetings have taken place and by the end of the story, it all seems like a fait accompli.

We all know that Victor Muller is very keen on motorsport and he’s even mentioned that rallying would be the most appropriate form of motorsport for Saab, should they ever get to a stage where a factory motorsport team is feasible.

Personally, I’d love to see it happen, too. I love motorsport, love rallying, and would absolutely love to see my favourite brand competing on the world stage once again.

BUT…….

I’m afraid I’m going to have to inject a small dose of reality into this one before we all get carried away.

First of all, motorsport is probably priority #1156 or thereabouts for Saab right now. When you get to a certain level of comfortable production and profitability, motorsport can then be inserted and become a key pillar in your technology and marketing programs. Take Renault, for example.

Saab aren’t at that stage, or anywhere near it.

Secondly, the car that autosport suggest will be the one Saab uses for their WRC entry isn’t in Saab’s business plan, and even if they manage to add it to Saab’s portfolio (which they’re quietly confident of doing), it won’t be released for another 3 or 4 years.

Want a source for that? How about Victor Muller himself?

This video at Fox will give you your answers (he talks about the Phoenix platform, too, though not by name).

The WRC is a very desireable aim for Saab, but it’s not likely to happen in the next two years. Reports claiming that it is are overly optomistic.

Saab stroker to run at Bonneville Speed Week

I don’t have much information about this one yet, only that it’s going to happen.

A Swede living in the US named Bertil S will be taking his Saab 96 to Speed Week at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, to run with the big boys. Speed Week runs from August 12th to 20th.

I’ll try and find out some more info about the car and Bertil’s hopes for the meet, but here are some pics to whet your appetite.

Click to enlarge.

Saab at the 24 Hours of Spa

The weekend saw some more great work by Saab Benelux. They just keep on kicking high-visibility goals.

The 24 Hours of Spa race was on at the famed Spa Francorchamps track last weekend and Saab Belgium had not only a great looking hospitality tent for guests, they also lined up around 60 Saab 9-3 convertibles, and a few 9-5’s, to carry out parade lap duties for the race.

50 of the convertibles came from Belgium and 10 of them were from Holland. Owners were invited to participate and they got to watch the race, and dine, in the Saab hospitality area.

This is a great example of Saab owners and the Saab organisation working together!

The Saab 9-5 was used as a pace car for the convertibles. A nice touch!

The Saab hospitality area….

Spyker were not racing at Spa, but they did have a C8 there, driven by Sander van Dijk, their marketing guru (and a fantastic bloke, too, who I met at the Saab Festival last month and who many of you may have seen at the Spyker presentation there).

That particular image was lifted from a video shot at the event. Saab Belgium invited the guys from fastenbelts.com to shoot the video and they drove in from Holland to do some fantastic work. You can watch the video on their website, here.

What a great job, from all concerned.

Congratulations!!

Saab possible return to WRC in 2014

OK, you’d need a big, long term diary to mark this one down. And it’s only a possibility at this point, not a plan.

It’s still nice to see a Saaby return to motorsport is occupying a small place in Victor Muller’s mind, however.

TV4 spoke to him at Almedalen Week and he had this to say (Googletrans):

When TV4’s financial news met Spykers CEO Victor Muller in Almedalen, he revealed that he wants to resurrect Saab’s rally history. The rally racing series that Muller would like to aim for in the future is the World Rally Championship.

– First we have to get the company profitable, then it could be considered, at the earliest, around 2014, “said Victor Muller.

As one of the sponsors behind the Saabs United Historic Rally Team, all I can say is BRING IT ON!!!

Motorsport is the test lab of the automotive world and it’d be great to see Saab back in the dirt some time in the future.

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