Vintage Group C Race Cars Sound Like Race Cars Should

Whether you’re talking about road cars or race cars, there’s any number of factors that add up to a great experience. And sound is a big one.

Unfortunately these days the top tiers of motor racing have been taken over by diesels and hybrids – any and all of which can make for great racing, and great racing cars. But they just don’t sound the same.

So where’s a old-school enthusiast to go to hear racing cars screaming like racing cars should? Vintage racing events, that’s where. Like the Spa Classic held this past weekend at the Spa Franchorchamps circuit in Belgium – home of Eau Rouge (one of the most notorious corners on any race track) and the Belgian Grand Prix.

Amidst the action that took to the track at this year’s event was a gathering of Group C racers from the 1980s and 90s. The ancestors of today’s Le Mans prototypes, Group C arguably represented the pinnacle of sports endurance racing – sleek, fast, and drawing some of the biggest names in the business to the racetrack. Group C gave us the Jaguar XJR-9, Mazda 787B, Porsche 956, and the Sauber-Mercedes C11 captured in the first video below.

The C11 was the car in which Michael Schumacher made his big debut on the international scene, driving in the original World Sportscar Championship an winning the round in Mexico. He wasn’t on hand for the race at Spa that year, but Karl Wendlinger and Jochen Mass drove it to victory there in 1990 – one of several victories the team took that season to secure the championship.

Built by Sauber before it got into Formula One, the C11 was powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that kicked out 730 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual. Even by modern standards, that’s a lot of muscle, and about as old-school as it gets. Just listed to it roaring around one of the most legendary racing circuits in the world, accompanied by more Group C racers like the ones against which it competed the better part of two decades ago.


  • Six Thousand Times

    They looked like racers should, too. Group C sure was a hell of an era. I’m grateful to have lived through it.

  • benT

    “….Group C Race Cars Sound Like Race Cars Should”.

    There’s a few road cars that could do with a similar sound too.

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