20 years ago Per Eklund and Saab stormed Pikes Peak

On July 7th, 2000 the time had come. Per Eklund and his Saab Viggen 9-3 4 × 4 stormed Pikes Peak. In the Open Wheel category, Eklund took the win and set a record with a time of 11 minutes and 21.58 seconds. It didn't last forever. But at least for 12 years.

Saab 9-3 Viggen 4x4 at Pikes Peak in 2000
Saab 9-3 Viggen 4 × 4 at Pikes Peak in 2000

His Saab 9-3 Viggen 4 × 4 had nothing to do with the production car. He only wore the silhouette of a 9-3, but under the sheet everything was different. Trollspeed Racing, Eklund's home base in Trollhättan, had given the engine at least 750 hp. In contrast to the series, in Faktorgatan 5 the engine was built in lengthways instead of across. Instead of two driven wheels at the front, the Pikes Peak Viggen had four-wheel drive that was designed to be rear-heavy. A 6-speed transmission, which every civilian Viggen pilot can only dream of, was added.

A record on Pikes Peak for 12 years.

In conjunction with the carbon fiber body, the Viggen weighed 1.100 kilograms. With this lightweight, Eklund in Colorado stormed the mountain with its dusty slopes and sharp turns in a fabulous time. 1.439 meters of difference in altitude have to be mastered, the distance is 19,99 kilometers, and the record was set in less than 12 minutes. All-wheel drive, turbo and low weight. Hard to beat in the combination and only the Frenchman Romain Dumas managed to break the record 12 years later with 9 minutes and 46.181 seconds.

In the meantime, the conditions had changed. The route has been paved and the demands on people and material have become less. But Dumas seems to have fallen in love with the mountain. He kept coming back and setting new records.

By Eklund
By Eklund

Most recently in 2018 in the VW ID R Pikes Peak. 7: 57,148 is the current record. In an electric car, which makes it clear how much times have changed since then. The full torque is available from the start, the center of gravity is low and there is no longer any dust or gravel. Technically, the development is fascinating, but somehow also terrifyingly bland.

Eklund was 54 years old at the time of his record. He drove to Pikes Peak in various classes with Eklund Motorsport until 2014. Troll speed still exists and we met the tour bus with which his racing team drives through Europe a few years ago at the Schwedenkai in Kiel.

What he is doing in the present, at the age of 74, is unclear. Corona successfully keeps Mark and me away from Trollhättan and Sweden. We hope he's fine.

There is a video of the event in our Media Library.

11 thoughts on "20 years ago Per Eklund and Saab stormed Pikes Peak"

  • Hello Volvaab Driver,

    of course the car will be presented accordingly. And also with all the documentation. In addition, some of the museum people know Per Eklund personally. There is also the one-hour report on the construction of the car on youtube.

    PS Acronyms with Saab in the foreground sound much better in my opinion.

    Greetings from Munich
    troll 90

  • Thank you Tom,

    that explains it. I thought that the setup with the big spoilers is probably younger and testifies to the attempt to undercut our own record.

    Apparently it didn't work. Apparently, as early as 2000, Eklund had a vehicle that could hardly be improved for this purpose. Most of all, he drove damn well himself. Chapeau. Great performance.

  • The solution: Eklund has been to Pikes Peak more than once. Most recently in 2002, with the same car. He won then too, but only in his class. The car was driven with different setups.

    Therefore there are various Pikes Peak press photos, all of which are (officially) assigned to the year 2000.

  • PS (spoiler)

    Something is not quite right. Huge spoilers can be seen in the picture for the article. The picture is dated to the year 2000. The linked video too, but the spoilers are missing there. Photo and video cannot be from the same year and from the same race ...

    The record was therefore set without the large “wings and fins”? ? ?

  • Troll 90 - Fordonsmuseum

    Is the car and its technology fully explained there?

    I find the aerodynamic setup noticeable. With an average speed of under 120 and on loose ground, my first amateur thought is that there is no need for spoilers ...

    But these are 1. available and 2. huge. Presumably it is exactly the other way around and the highest possible contact pressure as early as possible was a decisive success factor and was essential for traction and acceleration.

    Anyway, fascinating device and thanks for the museum tip.

  • The car was parked in the Arvika Fordonsmuseum (www.arvikafordon.se) in western Sweden last year, and probably still is. Very interesting, pure racing. Been there and recommend everyone to visit. Saabige greetings

  • All-wheel drive would have been good for the Viggen in the series. The 230 horses were already a lot for the front axle. Still, it was a fascinating car back then.

  • The asphalt started in 2001. Always in sections, associated with changes in the route. Therefore the year 2000 and today are no longer comparable.

  • "In the meantime, the conditions had changed."

    If the new record was set on asphalt, the old one is unbroken as far as I am concerned.

    It's pretty cool that Saab / Trollspeed & Per Eklund have set an everlasting record.

    It would be interesting to know when exactly the conditions changed, when was the asphalt paved? Is there an overlap, did the Eklund record instantly fall victim to the asphalt or did it last for another year or two despite the asphalt?

    12 years is sensational and an eternal record anyway, but with an overlap with asphalt pilots?

    It would be even more sensational. Hence the question.

  • Some important information got lost along the way. Now the text is correct again. Thank you!

  • Mistake: "The route is 1.400 meters long"

    Is that the altitude difference? Anyway, according to the article, the engine block is still original, right?

    Fascinating what you can get out of these things. Just by chance my oldest showed me a YouTube video with a 9-3 I vs. everything that has rank, name and wheels and actually drove away in 9 out of 10 cases on an airfield ...

    Positively crazy. It was fascinating that the Swedish young driver still had his car in the last race, the engine did it all ...

    No wonder these things can last forever, even if they can withstand such madness. The (standard) rev counter was almost constantly and sometimes very, very far in the red area. This shows that the series has great reserves.

    I would like to drive such an absurdly potent Saab - of course with the utmost caution and due respect ...

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