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Meet the Saab 9-3 Diners Club Racing Replica

Saab 9-3 SS Diners Club RacingSaab 9-3 SS Diners Club Racing

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.

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Original Saab 9-3 SS Diners Club
Original Saab 9-3 SS Diners Club

We present you a replica car of this famous Saab racing car, created by Joakim BernhardssonJoakim 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...

Replica of Saab 9-3 SS Diners Club Racing Team
Joakim’s project car – Replica of Saab 9-3 SS Diners Club Racing Team

My name is Joakim Bernhardsson, I live in Sweden, Skåne. I have an enormous intrest in cars, especially racecars. 

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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 initial state of the Saab 9-3 racing project
The initial state of the Saab 9-3 racing project

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”. 

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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 :) 

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Joakim's Saab 9-3
In the future Joakim will try to make his Saab 9-3 SS faster and more alike the real car every year.

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.  

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Best regards Joakim 

Thanks to Joakim for his story and his commitment to Saab cars.

Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.


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