Why Gatebil?

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…

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…To see lots of turbocharged Volvos and half-naked men walking around an incredibly hot paddock. I mean hot in the literal sense, as Sweden’s summer has finally arrived. It did make the transport of the gas heater for the Speedhunters tent completely redundant.

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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.

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Before Rudskogen however, is Mantorp Park in Sweden. It’s not the first event in Gatebil’s calendar, but for me it’s arguably the best.

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So why did I choose Gatebil over Le Mans? I guess I better try and explain…

Cars Creating Friendships
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Before we start into this, it’s probably about time that we address how we’ve covered Gatebil in the past. It’s obvious that we love the mayhem and the fact that everything is turned up to 11. But it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement, and because of that maybe we’ve thrown too much Gatebil at you in years previous.

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I’m certainly guilty of this in the past. With hindsight, directly transferring my over-excitement into words and photographs was the easy way out. Words that had no real depth and were soaked in hyperbole and exaggeration.

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I’ve learned that too much of any good thing, is bad. And this doesn’t do anyone any favours.

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With all of this in mind, I wanted to approach Gatebil at Mantorp with a fresh perspective and different attitude. I wanted to leave my emotions at the gate and try to get a better understanding of why Gatebil even exists.

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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.

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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.

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You see, as car enthusiasts we are in the absolute minority in the grand scale of things. Our passion for burning 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.

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But they don’t understand the amount of enjoyment that our cars bring us. They don’t understand the bond between 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.

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Gatebil epitomises these ideals.

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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.

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This is Peter Pentell, creator and driver of ‘LaSupra’.

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I only know Peter because he built probably 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.

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From mechanics to drivers, from spectators to corner workers, from organisers to media – we all share a common bond that will likely never be broken.

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It’s this human element, that for me at least, is the most important thing about our community.

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When you start to understand the humans of Scandinavia, it all starts to make sense.

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As it should be, Gatebil is basically all about people expressing themselves.

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When you have long, dark and extremely tough 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 swaps that can be found in every single pit area. Yes, that’s a turbocharged BMW S50 motor (from the E36 M3) in a GT86.

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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.

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At one side of the paddock, you have a stanced 180SX sitting pretty under the hot sun.

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At the other side, you have some of the most impressive time attack builds with engineering so beautiful, it makes your heart ache and your brain hurt a little bit.

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On track you have a brand new 991 Porsche GT3, laying down blistering hot lap after hot lap.

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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’.

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It’s these contrasts and seeming contradictions that make Gatebil, Gatebil.

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You’ll be rather happy to hear that unlike our internet world, there’s no people walking around and shouting abuse 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.

Which is nice.

The Reason To Gatebil
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As you probably already realise, Gatebil shouldn’t be taken too seriously. That’s not the point of it.

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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.

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There are a couple of competitive aspects to the event, but again these remain enjoyable for all involved. Even when some go door-to-door with a rival, there’s always a smile at the end.

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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 enjoying it. How many motorsport events do you know cater for the spectators like that?

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This brings me quite neatly back to my original question. Why Gatebil? With major motorsports, there’s a clear divide between the spectators, the VIPs and the competitors. Those with more money gain 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 fun. That’s the most important 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.

Cutting Room Floor
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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 swaps just because their owners say they're reliable and easy to mod..........

This did kinda stop though, and I'm happy for that. I love Gatebil posts, hyperbole and all.


I truly enjoy 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 goal of ABSOLUTE MOTORING NIRVANA!!!

Gatebil: It's what the FIA doesn't want you to do or see.

Gatebil: Proof that there's people crazier than those who make some regulations and laws I know of. Or maybe not.

Gatebil: Fuck it, I'm making a V-engine using two 26B rotary engines and I'll put in an Aston Martin Cygnet. Assuming I can get a hold of an Aston Martin Cygnet, but I don't, so I guess a Toyota iQ will do.

Gatebil: Toyota's rally team would belong there.

Gatebil: Pretty sure these guys' cars can walk past your puny McLaren.

Marcus Vinicius

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 though I LOVE everything Gatebil-related, I get your point Paddy (of you guys getting so excited that you simply need to show us - which is not a bad thing considering Scandinavia's hidden genious projects), but I would really like to see not just 1complete article, but a few more (3-5 is a good number in my opinion).


Now THAT is an impressive load of bonus images.


Why Gatebil


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Anyone sponsor me to get to the next one?


Please feature the Fiat bravo U0001f606!


I really 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, 911 engined 918 look-alike Boxsters are cool amazing, even, but its those nonsensical garage builds that really make Gatebil interesting. I'm particularly curious about that LS swapped 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 really do. Mantorp is probably 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 quite 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.

As for the drifting Fiat? Did you ever watch Friends on TV? You might remember the episode where Joey couldn't figure out where the hot girl in the opposite apartment building was? Yeah, that was me and the Fiat.


KiwiMotoring I can feel the evil stares of the people who look after our storage and servers from here.


danieleqs21 That was definitely the surprise of the event.

'Is that a Fiat Bravo? Why is he out in the drift session?'

*Clutch kicks, sends it sideways and starts smoking tyres*



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 Great comment. 

I think the cars I've picked out for spotlights are all interesting but for different reasons, but without being OTT if that makes sense?


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 fun and only enjoy 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 important.


Abezzegh87 Paddy McGrath Absolutely. I tried to get my GoPro into a couple 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 fixed vantage point.


Turbojompa Perhaps? Lots of photos were taken, but that Caddy I do remember.


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 911 RSR sounds stuck with me. Although 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 abuse and general misinformed bullsh*t" I love that!
I'm quite new 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 swap even more interesting.

Headline: "Honey, I Shrunk The One-77!"


Holy Bonus Images, Batman! 

I feel like I never get tired of seeing coverage from Gatebil.


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.

Gatebil: Only LMP1 cars are less deregulated.

Gatebil: The only place where prototype cars slide.

Gatebil: Is not covered by the concept of sacrilege.

Gatebil: Looks down at Formula Libre.

Gatebil: The ultimate insane asylum. Yes, we can confidently say that even Arkham is tame compared to us (but not really).

Gatebil: We have no regard for tire health.

Gatebil: Door-to-door racing? That's just first base.


I feel like this is appropriate.


One of the best posts. And man anyone who has a garage has to get that dog! One of the coolest things I ever saw.


Gatebil is a bucket list event! Thanks for more insight into it.

Any more pics of the BMW-powered GT86?


Krutch Definitely 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.

Awsome coverage as most of the time and very worth reading.

Pete the perfect pilot

Any Rotas there?


Pete the perfect 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. 

Pete the perfect pilot

No not wheels, rotarys, as in Mad Mike rx7. He's been a couple of years ago, and was wondering if there's any rotary love thus year at gatebil.


Some serious sexy machinery present


Pete the perfect pilot D'oh! I seen two FDs, one with a Viper V10 and another with I think an RB motor. Rotaries are pretty rare at Gatebil, in comparison to the 2JZ at least.


RensAdams I agree with you to a certain extent, but when lots of these events started 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 trying to that at the Red Bull Ring this weekend?


Paddy McGrath Pete the perfect pilot  Paddy the orange one had an Volvo T6 engine in it, about 680 rwhp as i recall it. Also a white LS swapped one. And then the red viper fd.


I was there and the level of the cars is amazing. No useless hellaflush, no tasteless body mods... properly tuned cars meant to be fast. Scandinavians know the good stuff.


Yeah, but like... how hot was it for reals? 

Like Malaysian-sweat-box-of-death hot? 

Or more like wtf-is-that-glowing-thing-in-the-air-I-heard-about-that-once heat?


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 buddy of me who has it U0001f609

Team lovetap marten

The hoses in the trunk of the e36 is really 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 immediately sets him on fire hot.


Rotaryswede Paddy McGrath Pete the perfect 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!


Oddly what surprised me the most about this post was the mint 90s accord beside the 180sx, there rare as hell in europe and especially ireland to my annoyance from trying 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 couple 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?

Thanks in advance.  I am serious--this is a bucket list item for me.


TylerHorne the red 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 strict 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 first glance.


Great pics as usual! Paddy McGrath did you enjoy your waffle on a stick?


Brilliant shots !! Very brilliant ..


pontusblomqvist Paddy McGrath I did when I eventually found a fork to eat it with!


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