Tag Archives: Saleen

ESCORT ENDURANCE SERIES FINALE

ANAHEIM, CA., October 20, 1989… The final round of the Escort Endurance Series took place October 14th at the new Heartland Park facility in Topeka, Kansa.

The #20 General Tire Saleen Mustang driven by Calvin Fish and Paul Dallenbach qualified sixth in the grid with an average speed of 75 mph around the 2.6-mile track. When the green flag dropped, starter Dallenbach kept the Saleen Mustang in contention. Fish, who also drove in the Racetruck Challenge and Formula series races, took over the driving duties on lap 33 and grabbed the lead on lap 42.

The Saleen performed flawlessly until two hours and twenty minutes into the four-hour battle when the #20 pitted for a costly brake change. Dallenbach brought the Saleen across the finish line sixth in class, despite driving his last stint with no clutch and only fourth gear.

In end of the year Championship standings the Saleen Mustang #20 finished forth with 100 points and first among the Fords in the Manufacturers standings.

The Saleen Racetrucks, driven by Trans Am Champion Dorsey Schroeder, filling in for Steve Saleen who was participating in the Indy Car event at Laguna Seca, Dallenbach and Fish farad better on the windy weekend than the Mustang Raceteam.

After consistently quick practice lap times, Dallenbach, Schroeder and Fish qualified their General Tire Ford Rangers fourth, sixth and eighth, all within hundredths of a second of the pole. After the inversion of the top six, Schroeder held the pole with Dallenbach directly behind. Into the first turn, Schroeder and Nissan independent Chuck Hemmingson made contact and spun forcing both to the back of the pack. Fish took over the lead on lap nine of the action packed raw followed by a two-some of anxious Jeeps who passed Fish two laps later.

After 15 of 20 laps, the Jeeps of the Archer Brothers were in the led followed by Fish, Dallenbach and Schroeder. One lap from the finish, Fish waived Dallenbach by in an attempt to pursue the Jeeps, who following post-race technical inspection were disqualified for illegal motors and stripped of all points and prize money.

The Saleen Team was awarded points and prize money for first, second and third and for his admirable pursuit of the field after his first lap incident, Schroeder was awarded the Rugged Liner “Move of the Race” Award.

THE BIG CHILL – COOL WEATHER, HOT BRAKES

ANAHEIM, CA., October 4, 1989… Just two short weeks after the Atlanta event, the Saleen Mustangs were again on the racetrack, this time at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in Rockton, Illinois for a three-hour enduro, the first professional race at this facility.

Steve Saleen was on hand for his last drive of the season in the Endurance Series as he will be at Laguna Seca campaigning his Indy Car while the Mustangs are at their last event of 1989.

Saleen was joined in car #20 by Paul Dallenbach while Calvin Fish and Kees Nierop assumed their regular driving duties in #19. Dallenbach qualified the General Tire Saleen Mustang second on the grid, just three positions ahead of his teammates.

In addition to the first frost of the season and temperatures in the 30’s, the Saleen team was once again agonized with brake failure that led to the early retirement of Saleen #20 as well as #19 soon thereafter. Fish and Nierop had taken control of the event before the brake demise. When the checkered flag flew, the Saleen Mustangs were sixth and seventh in class.

The finale of the 1989 Escort Endurance Series will take place October 11 at the new Heartland Park facility in Topeka, Kansas.

HOT AUGUST NIGHTS

ANAHEIM, CA., August 28, 1989… Night racing was the order of the month. But the month began in Connecticut at Lime Rock Park on August 5th. The Saleen Mustangs #19 and #29 were prepared for a three-hour enduro.

With a total of eight lead changes, Dorsey Schroeder and Paul Dallenbach finished only 20 seconds behind the #37 Camaro for a second place, finish. Keess Neirop and Calvin Fish were also on the lead lap and finished a very close third. After 4 races this season, this was the closest finish to date.

The next venue for August began our quest for “hot laps'” in the dark. On August 12 and 13 the Saleen Team returned to Mosport Park in Ontario, Canada to try to recapture the victory of the 24 Hours of Mosport. With perfect weather our ally, broken spindles our enemy, the team struggled through the night leading – then not leading until one too my brake failures, kept the team from a repeat win. The #19 Saleen Mustang succumbed early to a 1 ½ hour engine replacement pit stop due to a rock through the radiator. “Just completing s 24 hour race is a great accomplishment, especially with the problems we dealt with,” said team owner and driver, Steve Saleen. “The crew worked especially hard to keep the cars safe and running as hart as they could.” The results of 5th and 9th for the 2-car team were disappointing but kept the team in the top Ford position.

How about Saturday night, 10:00 under the lights, 5/8 mile banked oval in the “Heart of the South”? Sounds like a truck race to me! Nine Nissans and three Fords showed up to play. Steve Saleen was the fastest of the fast with Pete Halsmer and Calvin Fish showing the off-shore boys their taillights throughout practice and qualifying.

After the starter gave the Nissans a 3-truck head start at the flag, the Ford formation had a run toward the front. Right front tire wear was a dangerous complication suffered by every competitor.

After nudged into the wall, Saleen worked his way back to second place at the finish with Fish a close third. Halsmer had a pit stop which too him out of the run.

Next stop for the Mustangs and Rangers will be Road Atlanta, September 9th and 10th.

THE CALIFORNIA EDITION

SALEEN AUTOSPORT
4955 E. HUNTER AVENUE
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA 92807
(714) 777-1033

Contact: Elizabeth Summar

“THE CALIFORNIA EDITION”

ANAHEIM, CA, August 1, 1989… Saleen Autosport in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, San Jose District Office, recently showcased the Saleen Autosport “California Edition” Mustang GT at Sears Point International Raceway, in Sonoma, California.

The occasion was the Motorcraft NHRA Nationals on July 29th and 30th. The 50 specially prepared dealer drive-away GT’s were complete with Racecraft Suspension featuring Monroe Formula GP Shocks and Struts, customized American Racing wheels and General XP 2000V high performance tires.

Steve Saleen made a personal appearance on Sunday, signing autographs and meeting the local Ford Dealers invited to this special gathering.

For further information regarding the “California Edition” project, please contact Scott McDonald of Saleen Autosport.

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SALEEN AUTOSPORT – RACES AT SEASON-OPENER

SEARS POINT, CA., MAY 6, 1989… Saleen Autosport and General Tire ran two Saleen Mustangs at Sears Point international Raceway in the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship season-opener. Steve Saleen and Rick Titus drove the #20 Saleen Mustang in the three hour race while Kees Nierop, Calvin Fish, and Paul Dallenbach each piloted car #19. The cars finished in third and fourth places despite a damaged strut on the Saleen/Titus Mustang. “Handling was off with number 20 because of a problem with the suspension,” said Saleen Autosport President Steve Saleen. “In a race this short, there’s not enough time to type of repair so we had to make it work.”

Now the team is preparing for Mid-Ohio, where they will be racing in the 12-hour event on July 16.

SALEEN AUTOSPORT/GENERAL TIRE TO SPONSOR JOHN AMES’ SOLO EFFORT

ANAHEIM, CA., April 17, 1989… For the 1989 season, Sateen Autosport and General Tire are proud to announce their sponsorship of John Ames in the SCCA Solo I, Solo II, and Pro Solo racing series. John won the Stock 5 championship for all three series last season in his blue Mustang LX. Despite the popularity of that class and the variety of cars he was up against – Camaros, TransAms, Supras, and some early Corvettes-he also managed to total an impressive 22 consecutive Pro Solo wins, a record number for any of the classes. This year, John moves confidently into the E Street Prepared class, where numerous modifications are allowed. A new white LX Mustang has been prepared by Saleen Autosport’s race team in Livonia, Michigan, incorporating much of the equipment that the forthcoming Saleen SSC model will see in production. The car, number 91, rides on Z-rated Compound General XP2000s, measuring 245/50-16 on all four corners. “This is the first year for Saleen Autosport to be involved with the Solo racing program,” said founder and president Steve Saleen. “John Ames is an outstanding driver and we are glad to be supporting him.” “The goal for this year,” Ames said, “is to go for all three championships again, this time in a new class and a new car. I feel I can accomplish that with the package Saleen has put together.” John’s first event took place March 18-19 at Lion Country Safari in Los Angeles, where he finished second. Two weeks later, in Shreveport, Louisiana, he took first place. The rest of the season will include races in: Salt Lake City (July 1-2), San Francisco (July 15-16), Denver (August 12- 13), and the season finale in Salina, Kansas (September 16-17).

AMONG THE SEVEN NEW TEAMS IN THE PPG-CART INDY-CAR SERIES…

March 26, 1989|By Robert Markus, Chicago Tribune.

Among the seven new teams in the PPG-CART Indy-car series this year is one owned by Antonio Ferrari of the famous Italian racing family.

Euromotorsport will not make much of a splash this year with its year-old Lola (purchased from Dick Simon) and a Cosworth engine.

“We’re looking for a very good European engine package for 1990 and beyond,” says team manager Dave Thomas. “This will be our learning year. We’ll stick with the tried-and-true Cosworth in order to reduce the variables while we establish the team.”

Thomas says the team has spent $500,000, “and we haven`t turned a wheel yet. That’s a little unnerving for a newcomer.”

The team is hoping to cash in on CART’s popularity in Europe and will make a series of sponsorship appearances on the continent after the `89 season.

“The demand for these cars in Europe is tremendous,” says Thomas. “Mr. Ferrari is certain he’s the first of a wave of Europeans who will jump into Indy-car racing in the next few years.”

Swiss driver Jean Pierre Frey, who drove two races for Simon last year, will be in the cockpit.

Other new teams and their drivers: Bayside Motor Sports, Dominic Dobson;

Dyson Racing, James Weaver; Mann Motorsport, Gary Bettenhausen; Protofab Racing, John Jones; Saleen Autosport, Steve Saleen; and Stoops Racing, Steve Butler.

Jones was rookie of the year last year but was replaced on the Arciero team by Didier Theys.

– Theys drove only the road courses for Simon last year, so when he tested at Phoenix recently, “it was the first time I had been on an oval since the ARS race at Nazareth a year and a half ago,” he says.

He got some help, he says, from an oval-track master, Rick Mears. “Rick is a very nice guy and he showed me how to work on my left-foot braking on ovals. I now know why he is the best on those tracks. We went quicker immediately.”

– Oddly, Mears was once known as a road warrior. He still holds the CART record for consecutive road-course victories (four), “but now I’m teamed up with the fastest road racer in the business (Danny Sullivan),” he notes, “so all of a sudden I`m not a road racer.”

Mears confesses he does prefer the ovals. “I’ve always preferred the ovals more as far as working with the chassis and the aerodynamics,” he says. “At the speedway, you’ve got to make the car carry you, not you carry the car.

“I like both, but if you said pick one, I’ll take the oval.”

– Dale Earnhardt still leads the Winston Cup points chase after finishing second at Atlanta, but he hasn’t won a pole in two years. If he hasn’t won one by May 20, he’s got a great shot to end his drought in qualifying for The Winston, NASCAR’s all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That’s because qualifying for the race is determined by a unique format that requires a stop for right-side tires during the three-lap qualifying run. Earnhardt`s pit crew is a four-time winner of the Unocal 76 pit crew world championship.

“The difference in speed among all those great cars will be less than a half-second,” says Alan Kulwicki, who won four poles last year. “The difference in the pit crews could be five seconds. It`s more a race for pit crews than cars.”

– Wonder if Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One czar, has ever been in Phoenix in June? Ecclestone pulled the Formula One cars out of Detroit and will hold the U.S. Grand Prix through the streets of downtown Phoenix on June 4.

The average high temperature on that date is 104, and it often gets to 110 or more.

“They can drive in that heat,” says Sullivan, who drove the Formula One circuit and raced in Brazil, “but I don`t know how many people want to come out and watch it.”

SPONSOR LISTING 1989

FORD MOTOR COMPANY will be taking on the challenge again in 1989 with Autosport team. The Saleen Mustangs and Sportrucks will serve to confirm Ford’s performance, endurance, and reliability standards in head to head competition with manufacturers.

GENERAL TIRE is back this year with its General Tire Performance Team. Saleen Autosport carries the team colors as its representative in the GT class of the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship and the Racetruck challenge, where the vehicles will be riding on General’s next generation of high-performance tire, the XP2000.

MONTGOMERY WARD is entering its third year of motorsports involvement in 1989 in its efforts to continually broaden exposure for its 300-plus Auto Express Centers. Montgomery Ward’s sponsorship is a vital part of the General Tire Performance Team.

FORD AUTHORIZED REMANUFACTURERS is a department within Ford Parts and Service Division of Ford Motor Company. With its strong network of remanufactures throughout the country, the department offers numerous factory authorized remanufactured parts of all Ford vehicles.

GNB/CHAMPION BATTERIES is planning another big year with the team to promote its new line of quality high-performance batteries for the street. Champion batteries are standard equipment on the new Saleen SSC.

MONROE FORMULA GP SHOCKS AND STRUTS are engineered with individually selected valve components for precision ride control and feature unique polyurethane bushings for firmness and excellent road feedback. This combination adds up to winning performance handling for the team.

WALKER MUFFLERS is providing it’s support and excellent products for a return to the Saleen’s championship quest in 1989. Its DynoMax muffler enhances performance on all street vehicles as well as the new Saleen SSC.

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG COMPANY, a long-standing supporter of motorsports, will be back again to help put the Saleen Mustangs and Sportrucks in the winner’s circle. Champion will be supplying the race team with plugs, wires, filters and chemicals along with its affiliate, Anco Wiper Blades.

AUBURN GEAR is a high-tech, long-term supplier to the automotive industry. Its high-performance, limited-slip differentials, ring and pinion sets and custom gears and shafts are factory equipment for many major manufacturers and is a supplier to the new Saleen SSC.

VALVOLINE OIL COMPANY has long been synonymous with winning teams in all forms of racing. It is supplying oil products and other chemicals to both the Saleen Mustang and Sportruck teams.

WE ARE BACK

ANAHEIM, CA., February 27, 1989… Saleen Autosport is back and ready for the new year in the SCCA Escort Endurance Showroom Stock Series and the Racetruck Challenge. “Our winter has been very busy but very productive,” said Steve Saleen, President of Saleen Autosport and designer of the Saleen Mustang and Sportruck.

“We have aligned ourselves to take back a championship in the Mustangs in a most dominating fashion this year and set new standards for the Racetruck competition.”

We are also proud to announce a new Team Manager for the SCCA Teams. Peter Magnusson joins us from the Newman/Sharp-organization. His experience ranges from SCCA Trans Am to the IMSA Showroom Stock Series and his will undoubtedly make a great addition to the effort.

Linda Anderson, Marketing Director of the SCCA Teams, will again handle the hospitality, marketing and the on-the-road administration responsibilities for both the Mustang and Sportruck series. Her talents are always evident as the big yellow and white team rolls in to town.

The Saleen Autosport Racing Division has been significantly expanded to include another new facility in Livonia, Michigan which will house the new Saleen Autosport CART/PPG Indy Car Team as well as the engine dyno and R&D facilities. As former Business Manager for Zakspeed/USA, Uli Petersohn has been appointed to that same position for Saleen Autosport’s Racing Division and will be responsible for the administration duties for both the SCCA and CART teams. Petersohn said, “We have not only expanded the Racing Division but at the same time, we are streamlining a great deal to make the entire organization much more effective.”

Pete Evanow, Vice President of Marketing for Saleen Autosport has also brought together again a very prestigious group of sponsors for the SCCA teams. GENERAL TIRE, FORD MOTOR COMPANY, MONTGOMERY WARD AUTO EXPRESS CENTERS, MONROE FORMULA GP SHOCKS, AUBURN GEAR, AMERICAN RACING, GNB/CHAMPION BATTERIES, WALKER MUFFLERS, CHAMPION SPARK PLUGS COMPANY AND GALLERIA AREA FORD are out returning sponsors, and are a part of the championship-winning General Tire Performance Team.

“We are also very excited to announce our new sponsors for 1989,” said Evanow. Those include VALVOLINE OIL COMPANY, which will be featured on the Saleen Mustangs and Sportrucks as well the team’s Indy Car, and are a welcome addition to products and support.

Additionally, FORD AUTHORIZED REMANUFACTURED PARTS will become a very important part of the championship-seeking teams. “We are very pleased to be part of the Saleen organization this year. FAR, aligned with Saleen, will be a great unbeatable combination, ” said Mark Hopkins, Manager of Ford’s Remanufactured Products Department.

We are back and ready to beat the competition.

ESQUIRE: MEN WILL BE BOYS

By: DOUGLAS FRANTZ
Original Article: Esquire

“I was headed out to the Mojave to test the Saleen when I met the Porsche.”
1988 Esquire Saleen Mustang
Man At His Best: ARNOLD ROTH

Headed for the Mojave Desert, the bright red Saleen Mustang came up behind a white Porsche Carrera. The Porsche was cruising at 70 miles per hour when the driver seemed to sense the intruder. Without a glance in the mirror, he eased the Carrera up to 80. The Mustang hung close.

Suddenly the Porsche accelerated, switched lanes sharply, and cut into an opening in the traffic. The Mustang was still on his tail. In the Mustang the driver’s hands tightened on the leather-covered steering wheel. The muscles in his stomach tensed.

I know about those knotted muscles. I was the fool clutching the Mustang’s steering wheel, about to risk life, limb, and a jailable traffic offense.

Shopping for a Mustang GT a couple of weeks earlier, I had come upon my first Saleen Mustang at a Ford dealership in Los Angeles. Now, the Mustang GT is plenty of car straight out of the box, with a 225-horsepower V-8 and sleek styling. But the red fastback with SALEEN MUSTANG across the top of the windshield had the sheen of a handcrafted touring car and the profile of a street brawler.

It made me think of rural Indiana.

When I was growing up there in the 1960s, one object of my many youthful lustings was the Shelby Mustang, a rocket-fast pony car created from a stock Mustang in exotic California by Carroll Shelby. The heir to Shelby’s legend is Steve Saleen, a shy thirty-nine-year-old race driver who began converting Mustangs in a garage in 1984. Since then, his Saleen Autosport has boosted production nearly fifty-fold and moved into a sparkling new plant in Anaheim last June. In 1988, he will turn out about 1,200 special-edition serialized Saleens for sale through some 150 performance-oriented Ford dealers nationwide.

The Saleen starts life as a stock Mustang LX direct from Dearborn. The 5.0 liter V-8 and five-speed transmission are left alone so the Ford power-train warranty remains in effect. But the cars are stripped of their interior, suspension, brakes, wheels, and rear wing. Special Flofit Sport seats are installed along with a leather-covered Italian steering wheel and a six-speaker Pioneer sound system. The aerodynamics are re-worked with a front airdam, molded side skirts, a new rear wing, and a rear valance. These track-developed modifications improve both speed and handling, helping to keep the car squat in corners. Saleen says the valance tucked under the rear end adds 4 mph alone.

The new suspension also reflects Saleen’s racing experience. Shorter, stiffer springs lower the car 1.5 inches to improve handling. Six Monroe Formula GP gas struts and shock absorbers and chassis-stiffening’ steel braces keep the car solid and balanced under the harshest cornering. All four sixteen-inch wheels get Ford SVO disc brakes for firm stopping power, and the four-lug wheels are replaced by ones with five lugs, which are less likely to break off under the stress of a screaming slide through a hairpin turn.

By the time the car is shipped to a Ford dealer, the price has gone from the factory’s $13,000 or so to $21,500. Add four grand for a convertible, and expect to pay more for either model because the limited supply means dealers often charge a premium. What you get, however, is a car that surpasses much pricier models, a Mustang that roars along a twisting mountain road as if it were on rails and boasts a top speed of 149 mph, the same as a Porsche Carrera.

I spent most of a day in a scarlet ’88 Saleen, cruising beach towns in a throaty second gear and plunging down hilly roads. I was headed to the Mojave to test the top-end boast when I crossed paths with the Porsche. Speeding east on the Riverside Freeway, I followed the Porsche onto a two-lane ramp leading to Interstate 15 and San Diego. We hit the ramp side by side at 85 and exited side by side at 115. The Porsche driver smiled, lifted his right hand and pointed jauntily down the highway. My adrenal glands were way past the redline, but the Saleen was glued to the pavement and accelerating. As I wove in and out of sparse traffic at ridiculous speed, the image of a video game called Pole Position flashed into my mind. I always smash up the little electronic cars.

Summoning the courage to take my eyes off the road, I was stunned: 142 mph, 5,600 rpms, holy cow. The Porsche was a couple hundred feet ahead. The Saleen had some left. I did not. As I coasted back to 75, the Porsche drifted alongside. The driver smiled and waved suavely. I took the first available exit.

Physically spent, dripping with sweat, I was giddy, grinning stupidly. As I pulled gingerly back onto the interstate in the other direction, a black-and-white California Highway Patrol car swept past. Suddenly I didn’t feel too suave.