Monday, January 18, 2010
Racing legend: Mercedes-Benz (Sauber) C11
In the early 90's, Mercedes-Benz and Peter Sauber came up with the C11, a brilliant successor to the already remarkable Sauber C9 which won the 1989 edition of Le Mans 24 Hours. The C11 is well known today for being Michael Schumacher's Silver Arrow in which he have won the last race of the 1990 World Sportscar Championship.
The 1990 season of the World Sportscar Championship was marked by the complete domination of the C11 prototype which won all but one race. And that of course led Mercedes-Benz to winning the championship that year. The C11 however, did not follow the steps of its older sister by winning the 24 hours of Le Mans. In fact, Mercedes chose not to participate to the 1990 edition as it was not part of the WSC.
The C11 is basically an aerodinamically enhanced C9, it has the same 5.0 L Turbocharged (Mercedes) V8 that used to be in the C9. The prototype weighted slightly more than 900 Kilograms and that allowed it to reach astonishing top speeds of 400 Km/h (250 mph) in the straights.
There are no exact power figures as the Group C rules included fuel limitations, but it went from 650 hp to 800 hp or more, depending on the type of the race, the mileage and the race track.
The successor of the C11 was named the C291. Though it was an interesting race car from a technical point of view with its flat twelve which was meant to lower the gravity center of the car, the C291 failed to be as sucessful as its older sisters due to reliability problems.
Even if the Mercedes-Benz C11 failed to win at Le Mans one year later, it still can be described as a successful race car especially when it comes to its design which lives up to this day.