2003 Diners Club Racing team competed with a Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, and in the previous year – 2002 they used a Saab 9-5 Hirsch look-alike.
Diners Club Racing team was established during autumn 2000. 2001 it raced for the first time at the 24h-race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife with a Saab 9-3 2,3 Turbo.
2002 was primarily a year of development team-wise and technically, as the team had developed a brand new car from Saab´s 9-5 Sport Combi 2,3 Turbo. The success came in 2003 when the Diners Club Racing Team achieved at the Nürburgring-24h-race the 3rd place in the class and 22nd place over all.
We present you a replica car of this famous Saab racing car, created by Joakim Bernhardsson. Joakim gave us the whole story of his desire to give it the exact look of the real car when it raced at the Nurburgring 2004 with all the right bodyparts and decals.
Here’s his Saab story...
My name is Joakim Bernhardsson, I live in Sweden, Skåne. I have an enormous intrest in cars, especially racecars.
I bought my Saab 9-3 in 2014 when it was totally standard as you can see in the picture. The reason I bought a 9-3 Sportsedan was that I wanted to build a replica of Diners Club Racingteams 9-3. That car was used and raced in endurance races both in sweden and in germany in the famous 24 hours of nurburgring. In 2003 that car finished 22:nd overall at nurburgring. In 2004 it was 16:th overall when the engine broke with just 50 minutes to go.
My maingole with my car is to give it the exact look of the real car when it raced at the nurburgring 2004 with all the right bodyparts and decals.
The fun thing is that my car has alot parts from the real car that I have bought from one of the guys that raced the real car and was a big part in the building of it, his name is Joakim Thörjesson and the companys name is “Fridafors bilservice”.
The parts from the real car thats now on my are the front fenders, the rear fenders, the trunk, the front wheels and the airintake at the hood. A cool thing is that both the front fenders and the rear are made of thin carbonfiber, the front are glasfiber and the trunk are a very light and thin racingversion.
My car has a 2.0 liter engine with 335hp and 460nm. The gearbox is a standard 5-speed manual. It has adjustables coilovers, brembo-brakes in the front, standard at the back. The wheels are OZ Racing 18×10 with 265/35-18 front and BBS CH 18×8,5 with 255/35-18 at the back, R-compound tires all around.
When it comes to performance of the car it actually has a laprecord for roadlegal Saabs at a autocross that a swedish carmagazine uses as there testtrack. The driver then was Tomas Gullabo Jansson, the magazines testdriver. I has also won two autocross-competitions at that track, tho with another configurations at that time. The first time I won it I actually beat one of if not the most powerfull Saab ever, the Saab 9-3 of P-A Johansson with over 1000 hp. His time was 58.05 seconds, my was 58.00, and that year my car only had 275 hp :)
In the future I will try to make my car faster and more alike the real car every year. I will also try to have it streetlegal as it is now.
The pictures are showing the car in 2014 and how it looks today. One picture shows the real car just before the start of the nurburgring 24 in 2004.
If you have any questions just send a message and I will do my best to give the right answers.
Best regards Joakim
Thanks to Joakim for his story and his commitment to Saab cars.