Modeled on the Sauber-Mercedes C9, this is a race car for the road.
Few types of classic racing cars elicit the kind of enthusiasm that Group C prototypes do. They were some of the fastest, most incredible pieces of machinery ever made, including legends like the Porsche 962, Jaguar XJR-9, and Mazda 787. The trouble is that, as with most purpose-built racers, you can't drive them on public streets. So this guy built himself one that you can.
It's modeled on the Sauber-Mercedes C9 – the car that put the Silver Star back on the racing map after decades of abstention following the notorious Le Mans disaster of 1955.
Built and campaigned by Sauber, and backed and powered by Mercedes, the C9 won all three titles in the World Sportscar Championship, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans – all in 1989. It was clocked at 248 miles per hour at La Sarthe, prompting the ACO to put a pair of chicanes on the famous Mulsanne Straight.
Of course you couldn't drive a C9 on open public roads, even if you could get your hands on one. So Johan Ackermann built one that he could. Not from a kit, either – though his native South Africa has been known for producing plenty of those.
The 64-year-old mechanic (and evident Mercedes racing fan) crafted the chassis and fiberglass bodywork from scratch in what was clearly an exhausting and exhaustive process. And at its center, he installed a 3.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine capable of producing 370 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.
That's a fair bit less than the 800 or so horses the original C9 produced from its 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8. But weighing just 1,000 kilograms (or 2,200 pounds), we've sure it hustles – and on public roads, no less – achieving speeds in excess of 300 km/h (186 mph).