World's Top Drivers to Compete in Saab Cars in 2000 Michelin Race of Champions
Some of the world's top rally and road racing drivers and motorcycle racers will be competing head-to-head in modified Saab 9-3 race cars in the
Michelin Race of Champions, held December 8-10 in Spain's Canary Islands.
Norcross, Ga. - Saab is competing in one of the world's most spectacular races with two, 600-horsepower Garrett turbocharged all-wheel-drive Saab 9-3 rallycross cars. The cars, provided by Swedish rallycross racer Per Eklund, will be used for head-to-head competition in the Michelin Race of Champions on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain December 8-10, 2000. Racing in the competition are some of the world's top drivers like four-time World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen, F1 racer JJ Lehto, and former Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan. Last year's racing was so intense that it was broadcast worldwide on 231 channels in 171 countries.
The Nations Cup event consists of eight national teams comprised of one rally driver, one race driver, and one motorcycle racer. The Finnish line-up of Makinen, Lehto, and Kari Tiainen won the 1999 event, and all three will return this year to defend their title. Newcomers include a U.S. team led by former Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan, who will be joined by 2000 Superbike Champion Colin Edwards and Baja specialist "Lightning" Larry Ragland. Each team's rally driver will go head-to-head with the opposing rally driver, race driver against race driver, and biker against biker.
Eklund, who claimed the 2000 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Open Class title earlier this year in a modified Saab 9-3 Viggen, has also been invited to compete in the event's Legends Class against former rally champions including Stig Blomqvist, Hannu Mikkola and Timo Salonen. Eklund finished second in this year's European Rallycross Championship and won the Swedish Rallycross Championship.
The modified Saab 9-3 rallycross cars are turbocharged by Garrett, a leading global manufacturer of turbochargers for passenger cars, light trucks, and commercial vehicles, with worldwide headquarters in Torrance, California, and European Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Known for its active involvement in auto racing worldwide, Garrett is proud to co-sponsor Saab and Per Eklund in this high-powered racing event.
The Saab cars will be driven throughout the weekend, including in the event finals. For more information about the race, see www.raceofchampions.com. For information on Per Eklund, see www.eklund.eds.com.
Technical specification of Eklund's all-wheel drive Saab 9-3 rallycross cars:
Engine Longitudinally mounted, four-cylinder, 16-valve with twin overhead camshafts, Garrett turbocharger with 45 mm restrictor (to meet the competition rules), and intercooler. Displacement: 2.0 liters. Bore/stroke: 92/77 mm. Compression ratio: 9.0:1. Original Saab engine block and cylinder head. Engine tuned by Trollspeed of Trollhattan. Rating 550 - 600 hp at 6,500 rpm Peak torque 592 Ib.-ft. at 4,000 rpm Transmission Four-wheel drive with programmable active differentials and six- speed Prodrive gearbox Weight 2574 Ibs. O - 60 mph Under 2.5 seconds Top speed 124 - 155 mph, depending on the drivetrain ratio