Wait, Ben, two things. Firstly, two Group C cars in this list? Secondly, you do know there’s a C11 at the Monza Historic this weekend? Well, you have a point, but let me address your concerns. Firstly, yeah, but I like Group C cars, and there’s a decent amount of difference between a 3.5-litre Group C car and a ‘classic’ version. Secondly we all know the story of the C9 and C11, but the C8 is where it all began.
The Sauber C8 was the first car that Mercedes and Sauber collaborated on, ready for the 1985 Le Mans 24 Hours, and the 1986 World Sportscar Championship. It didn’t have the greatest history, in fact a C8 was entered at Le Mans four times and never finished. It didn’t even start its first race in 1985, qualifying 17th but suffering damage in an accident later in the week which could not be fixed in time. It did however have some success, winning the daunting 1,000km of the Nürburgring in 1986, a very important win on home soil for Mercedes, and in an era dominated by their neighbours at Porsche. But the C8 is more important than its racing history. It was to spawn the C9 – the car that won Mercedes it’s only Le Mans – and a legacy for Sauber and Mercedes than continued for decades. it was also driven by some true greats. A quick look reveals Pescarolo, Quester, Nielsen and Thackwell. So yes, the C11 may be the mightier machine, but don’t count out the little C8.