Biography Sam Bryan


95 SAAB 900 Turbo Group 5

Second to fellow Saab driver Goran Ostlund in Group 2 in 1994 in Saab 900.
Won national championship in Group 2 in 1995, winning four class titles and one second-place finish overall.
Built factory-sponsored Saab 900 turbo for new Group 5 class - hard work paid off in season-ending win in Washington.
'97 brought 6 class wins and the Group 5 championship - their second in three years with 1st Group 5, 3rd O/A Wildwest, 1st Group 5, 3rd O/A Rim of the World.

After earning mechanical engineering degrees from Stanford and Cornell, Bryan took an engineering position at Boeing Corporation in Seattle and saw his first PRO Rally in 1985.

He started entering rallies in 1986, running as many divisional events in the Northwest Region and in Western Canada as his Boeing schedule and budget would allow. In 1993, Bryan started entering national events in a Saab 900, and showed his driving skill by turning stage times close to competitors who had twice as much horsepower.

In 1994, with co-driver Rob Walden's Scandia Autosports preparing a two-car Saab team, Bryan/Walden finished second to champion Goran Ostlund in a similar Saab 900 for the new Group 2 championship. He was also 10th overall in the final point standings.

For '95, Bryan and Walden rebuilt the Saab, making it the most technically- advanced two-wheel-drive car on the circuit. The four cylinder, 16-valve, 2.0-liter, normally-aspirated Saab engine produced 215 horsepower, and, combined with Bryan's aggressive driving style, led to several top five finishes overall, including a second to Henry Joy's Mitsubishi Lancer at the tough Lake Superior PRO Rally in Michigan.

The Bryan/Walden Saab was also the first rally car in North America to be fitted with traction control, and was the only Group 2 car to have a sophisticated engine management system. But all these features required development, and the price of development - as usual - is time and reliability. Bryan broke a half-shaft at Wild West and a cam gear at Sunriser; and burned a piston at the Maine Summer event.

But in-between those mechanical setbacks, the team won four races and clinched their championship with the fine performance in Michigan.

For 1996, the team prepared a factory-supplied Saab 900 turbo coupe in the new Group 5 class. This 300 horsepower monster has an adjusted displacement of 5.1 liters, and features a six-speed, dogbox transmission and 12-inch brakes.

The car suffered overheating problems in its debut at Rim of the World, but showed its potential at STPR as Bryan had a two-minute lead over the rest of the field when a crank sensor failed, causing a DNF. At the Maine Forest Rally, the team discovered a tooth missing from the final drive gear in its transmission before the rally began, causing Sam to scratch from the event.

Bryan was again leading his class when he rolled his car in Minnesota, and he lost his engine while testing before the Lake Superior event. All the hard work and development finally paid off at the finale in Washington as the Saab team won its first Group 5 victory.

Terrific performances at both the Little Creek Casino Wild West event and the Rim of the World PRO rally gave Bryan the lead in class at the halfway point in 1997. After a disappointing DNF right at the start of STPR, Sam and Rob came back to win the Maine Forest event, solidifying their class points lead. Bruce Newey took the points lead after a Bryan DNF at Ojibwe, and held a slight lead going into the last event, even though Rob and Sam won going away at Lake Superior, but the Saab drivers showed patience in the snow in Maine to clinch the Group 5 title.

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