August 15, I986 – BURBANK, CA. … Victory – how sweet it was as the Saleen Mustang scored its first win the SCCA Showroom Stock Endurance Championship Series with a first place finish at the Mosport Budweiser 24 Hours in Canada.
Saleen! Autosport team leader, Steve Saleen commented: “Between the rain, the Porsches, the Audis and the Firebirds we had to fight to the finish to win. Saleen went on to add: “For a first year team to win in a series this competitive is a tribute to the effort everybody is making. We couldn’t be happier for Ford Motor Company, General Tire, or for all the crew and volunteers who worked so hard for Saleen Autosport.”
The team took a fairly “high profile” approach to the Mosport event, as the crew showed more confidence in its growing experience, in the Saleen Mustang’s development, and in the team’s aggressive driver selection, as regulars Steve Saleen, Rick Titus and Lisa Caceras were joined by IMSA drivers Skeeter McKitterick and Tom Winters, along with F1 and Indy car driver, Desire’ Wilson. Saleen pointed out: “Our driver core is fast becoming very strong, and given how hard you have to race in this series, no team can afford the luxury of and less than the best drivers.”
Right from the green flag the Saleen Mustangs proved their worth as the two team cars ran right to the front by the end of the first hour. Once settled into a comfortable race leading pace, both cars ran in the top three all night long, before the second team car was involved in an accident in the early morning hours, removing it from the race. All the teams efforts then shifted to the leading team car as the race drew to the closing stages. Saleen remarked: “Losing the number 29 car was a real blow to our plan. We had so hoped that we could stage a one/two finish. Perhaps that was a bit much to expect for a new team seeking its first win, but we came so close to pulling to off.”
For Ford Motor Company the victory is a “first” ever in a Showroom Stock Endurance Championship Series. The victory was just as important to General Tire, who is new to any road racing series, and now has several track records, four pole positions and now a “first” professional victory in an arena that has been, up till now, dominated by others with years of racing experience behind them. General Tire, like Saleen Autosport, is using the Endurance Series to prove to the public that their products are in fact the best. We think the point is getting home.