1986 SAUBER MERCEDES GROUP C RACE CAR
The Sauber C8 was a Group C prototype race car introduced in 1985 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the first in a partnership between Sauber and Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes decided not to put forth the money for a full effort on their own until they had time to develop the production-based M117 5.0L Turbocharged V8. Therefore, Mercedes turned to Sauber to create a chassis for them and initially to run the team before Mercedes took on a larger role. Sauber chose to evolve the previous C7 prototype for the C8, although modifications were needed to house the larger V8 instead of the C7's previous Inline-6. In its debut at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sauber was able to qualify 17th. However, the car suffered an accident later in the race week that caused enough damage that the car was not able to participate in the race. The team promised to appear at a few more races in the World Sportscar Championship season, but never showed. For 1986, the team became known as Kouros Racing Team, and the C8 was entered in the full season of the 1986 World Sportscar Championship season. For the first two races the C8 showed promise, with an 8th and a 9th. However later in the season two C8s were entered in the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans where unfortunately neither car was able to finish. For the 1000km of Nürburgring, the team was able to achieve it's first victory with drivers Henri Pescarolo and Mike Thackwell, made all the more important by being won in front of the Mercedes-Benz executives in attendance. With this victory the Kouros Racing Team was able to end the season 5th in the teams championship. In 1987, the Kouros team switched to the newer Sauber C9, while C8 chassis #2 was sold to privateer French team Noël del Bello, which entered the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans and 1000km of Nürburgring, but failed to finish either race. Noël del Bello continued into 1988, but failed to finish any of the races it entered again.