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I can honestly only shrug my shoulders when someone asks me the question, ‘why Gatebil?’. It was the same weekend as arguably the greatest race in the world, but instead of going south to witness the pinnacle of modern motorsport (I believe the LMP cars are more relevant than F1), I travelled in the opposite direction to a race track smack bang in the middle of the Swedish countryside…
…To see lots of turbocharged Volvos and half-naked guys walking around an exceptionally hot paddock. I mean hot in the literal sense, as Sweden’s summer has ultimately arrived. It did make the transport of the gas heater for the Speedhunters tent entirely redundant.
By now, Gatebil is something you should be overly-familiar with on Speedhunters. The Scandinavian motorsport festival runs several times over the course of the year, with the ‘big one’ happening at Norway’s Rudskogen Motorsenter in July.
Before Rudskogen however, is Mantorp Park in Sweden. It’s not the very first event in Gatebil’s calendar, but for me it’s arguably the best.
So why did I choose Gatebil over Le Stud’s? I guess I better attempt and explain…
Cars Creating Friendships
Before we begin into this, it’s most likely about time that we address how we’ve covered Gatebil in the past. It’s demonstrable that we love the mayhem and the fact that everything is turned up to 11. But it’s so effortless to get caught up in the excitement, and because of that maybe we’ve thrown too much Gatebil at you in years previous.
I’m certainly guilty of this in the past. With hindsight, directly transferring my over-excitement into words and photographs was the effortless way out. Words that had no real depth and were soaked in hyperbole and exaggeration.
I’ve learned that too much of any good thing, is bad. And this doesn’t do anyone any favours.
With all of this in mind, I wished to treatment Gatebil at Mantorp with a fresh perspective and different attitude. I dreamed to leave my emotions at the gate and attempt to get a better understanding of why Gatebil even exists.
Anyone who has ever been to Sweden, or Scandinavia in general, will know that it’s a utopia with an enormous sense of environmental awareness and conservation. It’s baffling then that events like Gatebil still happen.
My only guess is that regular folk just don’t know what happens at these venues hidden within the hinterlands of these vast countries – or at least the scale of them. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
You see, as car enthusiasts we are in the absolute minority in the grand scale of things. Our passion for searing fossil fuels and tyres in the most aggressive ways possible is viewed as neanderthal by the world at large. Using finite resources for our own pleasure, which as a byproduct damages the environment, it’s difficult to argue against them being wrong.
But they don’t understand the amount of enjoyment that our cars bring us. They don’t understand the bond inbetween fellow enthusiasts. They don’t understand how our cars are all that matter. And they’ll never understand how cars take priority over race, creed or gender. If you’re one of us, you’re one of us, and that’s all that matters.
Gatebil epitomises these ideals.
This Datsun S30 belongs to Eric Jonasson. I shot the car several years ago – at Mantorp coincidentally – and every time I’m in Sweden or Norway, I seem to bump into him. If it wasn’t for cars, we never would have met and I certainly would miss out on having a friend with such incredible passion and enthusiasm for his car.
This is Peter Pentell, creator and driver of ‘LaSupra’.
I only know Peter because he built very likely one of the most amazing cars on the planet. Because of this car, we now have a connection and friendship that would not have occurred otherwise.
From mechanics to drivers, from spectators to corner workers, from organisers to media – we all share a common bond that will likely never be violated.
It’s this human element, that for me at least, is the most significant thing about our community.
When you commence to understand the humans of Scandinavia, it all starts to make sense.
As it should be, Gatebil is basically all about people voicing themselves.
When you have long, dark and utterly harsh winters, you need something to keep you and your friends entertained, and more importantly, together. It’s this sense of community and friendship that results in the crazy builds and interchanges that can be found in every single pit area. Yes, that’s a turbocharged BMW S50 motor (from the E36 M3) in a GT86.
Yes, this is a Viper V10 powered FD3S Mazda RX-7.
Yes, this is two skateboard decks being used as an extra aero device on an E30 BMW.
At one side of the paddock, you have a stanced 180SX sitting pretty under the hot sun.
At the other side, you have some of the most amazing time attack builds with engineering so beautiful, it makes your heart ache and your brain hurt a little bit.
On track you have a brand fresh nine hundred ninety one Porsche GT3, laying down impetuous hot lap after hot lap.
Whilst amongst the next group of cars you have a drifting Fiat. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say, at least without the words ‘131’ and ‘Abarth’.
It’s these contrasts and seeming contradictions that make Gatebil, Gatebil.
You’ll be rather glad to hear that unlike our internet world, there’s no people walking around and shouting manhandle and general misinformed bullsh*t in an attempt to sound intelligent or to harass others into their petty way of thinking. Instead, people are too busy smiling, laughing and appreciating life and all that’s going on around them.
The Reason To Gatebil
As you very likely already realise, Gatebil shouldn’t be taken too earnestly. That’s not the point of it.
When you immerse yourself into it, you get a better feeling and appreciation for the sense of humour required. More often than not, things are done in jest rather than to provoke others.
There are a duo of competitive aspects to the event, but again these remain pleasurable for all involved. Even when some go door-to-door with a rival, there’s always a smile at the end.
With a plane to catch on Sunday afternoon, I enquired with the organisers as to how long the drifting main event was scheduled to go on for. Hans, aka Mr. Gatebil, laughed and told me it would go on for as long as people were still loving it. How many motorsport events do you know cater for the spectators like that?
This brings me fairly neatly back to my original question. Why Gatebil? With major motorsports, there’s a clear divide inbetween the spectators, the VIPs and the competitors. Those with more money build up more access to the event, regardless if their passion for the sport is better or worse than those without comparable income. I don’t like that. Gatebil does not have these divisions. Gatebil brings us together as equals, for the right reasons and encourages us to express ourselves in the right ways. That is, to do it for ourselves and to have joy. That’s the most significant reason of all.
Our Gatebil Mantorp coverage doesn’t end here, we will be brining you spotlights on just some of the stand out cars from the event in the coming days along with a feature on a very special BMW.
Want to know more? Ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to get back to everyone.
Extra Photos by Arslan Golic
Cutting Room Floor
The Hot August Nights Practice
Is Gridlife The Fresh Gatebil?
Dual Vision: The Identical Escorts
And he’s back. Bravo!
This is the coverage that makes me want to go all out on my 240sx, and stop caring about what other people think!
There’s so many cars in this post that I hope get featured!!
WOW, so much awesome cars in one sigle post! I need to go there!
Now that was rad. So many kick-ass cars, and I especially loved the group head-on shot!
What if they made another Spinal Tap movie and turned things up to 12?
” I’ve learned that too much of any good thing, is bad. And this doesn’t do anyone any favours.”
– covering so many LS exchanges just because their owners say they’re reliable and effortless to mod.
This did kinda stop however, and I’m glad for that. I love Gatebil posts, hyperbole and all.
I truly love reading this post.
That R33 has been on my wishlist for sometime now
Gatebil: It’s what happens when the FIA is run by a bunch of blokes who find profit secondary to the purpose of ABSOLUTE MOTORING NIRVANA.
Gatebil: Pretty sure these guys’ cars can walk past your puny McLaren.
PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT: That drifting Fiat, the time attack Z33, that insane LS Merc E-Class, the Blue Audi S2, and that killer bodykitted S2000.
Also, even however I LOVE everything Gatebil-related, I get your point Paddy (of you guys getting so excited that you simply need to showcase us – which is not a bad thing considering Scandinavia’s hidden genious projects), but I would indeed like to see not just 1complete article, but a few more (3-5 is a good number in my opinion).
Now THAT is an astounding fountain of bonus pics.
Anyone sponsor me to get to the next one?
Please feature the Fiat bravo U0001f606!
I indeed have to go there once in my life!
Please, may you guys feature (or at least Spotlight) more home-built cars this time around? Don’t get me wrong, ZN6’s with Rocket Bunny bodykits and carbon bodied, nine hundred eleven engined nine hundred eighteen look-alike Boxsters are cool amazing, even, but its those nonsensical garage builds that truly make Gatebil interesting. I’m particularly nosey about that LS exchanged W212 and that E36 with the big hoses in the boot; what in the name of is going on there?
Larry Chen It feels good to be home.
HeatherSabin Yup, you’ve got to do it for you. Nobody else will have to drive it or pay for it, so you might as well make it your own.
DonHoonigan You indeed do. Mantorp is very likely the easiest / most affordable of the big two as well.
SS6K Did you notice the Porsche & Audi going door-to-door?
LouisYio I think Gatebil goes up to 13.
UWerqxTeam_MJ You laugh about the Cygnet.
Marcus Vinicius We’re already working on planning our Rudskogen coverage to be fairly different to what has come before. We certainly want to take a closer look at the many individual and interesting facets of what makes Gatebil, Gatebil.
KiwiMotoring I can feel the evil stares of the people who look after our storage and servers from here.
danieleqs21 That was certainly the surprise of the event.
Abezzegh87 I don’t have to, I can still hear Audi five cylinders and 2JZs in my head several days later.
Marco Maas You should.
Trentworth Superb comment.
Awesome stuff Paddy!
Did you guys get any picture of a white caddy mk1?
That was a good read Paddy. I think it also has to do with how such an event originates.. I mean major league races like N24, Lemans24, F1 were never built on the idea to have joy and only love spectators. Big sponsoring deals and brands are involved with those races from the get go. I believe Gatebil was founded by a group of friends who just did some trackdays right? And I believe that mentality still stands regardless the amount of big companies who got involved with the event over the years and that’s a very strong quality. Maybe even the most significant.
Abezzegh87 Paddy McGrath Absolutely. I attempted to get my GoPro into a duo of cars but just didn’t have the time to babysit and make sure it was recording. Might just do some raw footage at Rudskogen from a stationary vantage point.
Turbojompa Perhaps? Lots of photos were taken, but that Caddy I do recall.
danieleqs21 Just done some digging and as far as I know, it’s powered by a turbo BMW V8 and making around 600WHP.
Paddy McGrath Abezzegh87 Haven’t been to a big event like this for the gearheads, but I understand the sounds sticking in your head. Was at Laguna Seca this year for IMSA Tudor race. C7.R and the nine hundred eleven RSR sounds stuck with me. Albeit partial to the C7.R as I can hear that at work firing up now and again.
“there’s no people walking around and shouting manhandle and general misinformed bullsh*t” I love that!
I’m fairly fresh to the car scene and I was kind of turned off by all the hate that seems to be everywhere. After going to some meets, it was nice to realise that people could have their own opinions on what is good or bad.
Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ I do, it’s absolutely nonsensical. Which makes a One-77 V12 interchange even more interesting.
Holy Bonus Photos, Batman!
Trentworth That w12 is Steffen Rudsengen´s car. Facebook og Google him for information
Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ Well, I can still crank out some more.
I feel like this is adequate.
One of the best posts. And man anyone who has a garage has to get that dog! One of the coolest things I ever witnessed.
Gatebil is a bucket list event! Thanks for more insight into it.
Krutch Undoubtedly agree on the bucket list event.
Marco Maas I know the feeling.
Why Gatebil? Because grassroots motorsport mayhem unites true Petrolheads for a few weekends every summer.
Any Rotas there?
Pete the flawless pilot There sure was. Along with Rays, BBS, Work, OZ, Compomotive, HRE and many, many others.
you can find more pics and facts about the bmw/gt86 on facebook.
No not wheels, rotarys, as in Mad Mike rx7. He’s been a duo of years ago, and was wondering if there’s any rotary love thus year at gatebil.
Some serious sexy machinery present
Pete the flawless pilot D’oh! I seen two FDs, one with a Viper V10 and another with I think an RB motor. Rotaries are pretty uncommon at Gatebil, in comparison to the 2JZ at least.
RensAdams I agree with you to a certain extent, but when lots of these events embarked out, they were accessible to you and I. Just about anyone could explore the paddock and talk to the drivers / mechanics etc. Can you imagine attempting to that at the Crimson Bull Ring this weekend?
Paddy McGrath Pete the ideal pilot Paddy the orange one had an Volvo T6 engine in it, about six hundred eighty rwhp as i recall it. Also a white LS exchanged one. And then the crimson viper fd.
I was there and the level of the cars is amazing. No futile hellaflush, no tasteless figure mods. decently tuned cars meant to be rapid. Scandinavians know the good stuff.
Yeah, but like. how hot was it for reals?
Awesome set Paddy! Very strong!
Is that a WRC wing on the drifting fiat?? hnnngggg
Do you have more pictures of my brown 81′ corrolla ke70 wagon?
If you want to do a story about the w212, can i help you with that. It’s a good pal of me who has it U0001f609
The hoses in the trunk of the e36 is truly the big hoses in a mercedes CLK, its going to be the air supply for the rear mounted radiator;)
FunctionFirst Like an Irishman who only sees the sun once a year and it instantaneously sets him on fire hot.
Rotaryswede Paddy McGrath Pete the ideal pilot I only seen the orange one from a distance with the front of the engine poking through the bonnet. Figures it was a Volvo engine!
For some more picture from Gatebil Mantorp visit here!
Oddly what astonished me the most about this post was the mint 90s accord beside the 180sx, there infrequent as hell in europe and especially ireland to my annoyance from attempting to find one for the last coupe of months haha.
I look forward each year to the gatebil posts, good job on this paddy
Doth mine eyes deceive me? Is that a turbo’d Coyote in that Mk. IV Supra up top?
Oh man that blue Audi looks savage! I do hope there’s going to be a feature on that.
Also Paddy McGrath here’s a question for you. Let’s say a duo years down the road I’m looking to ship my car over and attend this event. Is it even possible for a regular out of country joe to do that? I realize it’s a big endeavor but what are entry requirements? Any other info you might have? Perhaps a contact to an English speaking organizer?
TylerHorne the crimson one? ist a turbo charged Ls1
zephoto Paddy McGrath If you’re interested, closer to the time I can put you in touch with someone who can let you know the logistics of having your car shipped and imported (even temporarily) into Sweden. The entry requirements for the event aren’t too stringent AFAIK, just need to make sure it passes scrutiny and basically that it’s not unsafe.
Upon closer inspection of the valve covers, I believe you’re right. That intake manifold looked like a Boss 302’s at very first glance.
Superb pics as usual! Paddy McGrath did you love your waffle on a stick?
Brilliant shots !! Very brilliant ..
pontusblomqvist Paddy McGrath I did when I eventually found a fork to eat it with!