1 of 5 built
BMW M 12/6 two-liter engine
Entry in Le Mans 24h race 1977
Swiss champion 1979
In total, Sauber built 13 race cars between 1970 and 1978. One of them is the C5.001 offered here with a two-liter BMW engine. The first of only five C5s built, it was entered in the 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans and became Swiss champion in 1979 under driver Werner Wenk. The original 1979 Swiss Championship title award including Werner Wenk’s complete racing suit with gloves and shoes are present. Also the original car passport, various trophies and awards from the time. This beautiful Sauber C5 also includes a complete history, FiA papers and various letters from Sauber.
Other drivers on this race car: Harry Blumer, Eugen Strähl, Peter Bernhard, Max Welti, Werner Wenk etc.
Peter Sauber built his own model for the first time in 1970: the C1, of which two were built. With the dainty one-liter car, the Zurich constructor became Swiss sports car champion at the time. Two examples of the C2 followed. PP Sauber AG built three cars of the C3, also with a tubular frame. With the C4, built for 1975, they ventured for the first time into a monocoque design, which was driven by Harry Blumer in the Swiss championship. Various daily victories of the Glarner civil engineer as well as a third overall place in the championship were the result. Based on the experience gained with the C4, the still small company ventured a further effort and developed the C5. Five racing cars of this model were built in Hinwil. It was presented at the International Race Car Show in Zurich in January 1976.
In 1976, two drivers competed in the national championship with the C5, the third competed abroad. Harry Blumer and Kurt Roth competed with the C5 BMW in Switzerland. “Factory driver” Blumer represented the colors of “Artos”, a product launched by Martini & Rossi. Herbert Müller secured the European Interseries championship in the same year and, together with Rodolfo Cescato, competed in three races in the World Sports Car Championship.
The promising debut took place at the 1000 km race in Monza. The Automobilrevue wrote on April 29, 1976: “Herbert Müller and Rodolfo Cescato drove the brand new C5 with BMW engine. The car made a very good impression and, with Müller (after the defect in Merzario’s car), was even briefly in the lead of the two-liter.
In 1977, the company ventured to Le Mans for the first time. With a long-tail version of the C5 and together with the two drivers Eugen Strähl and Peter Bernhard, they wanted to know where they really stood. After four hours, they were already leading the two-liter field and in 13th place overall when the starter had to be replaced unscheduled. Later, a rear tire burst at full speed on the Hunaudières straight, which also immediately disintegrated the long rear fairing. Again with a short rear, the definitive end came in the 14th hour when an oil line broke and the car stopped on the track.
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