First Customer Car to Compete in Rolex 24 at Daytona

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 18, 2000 – Steve Saleen, six-time GT Manufacturer’s Champion in sports car racing, announced today that Paul Gentilozi and his Rocketsports Racing will run a Saleen S7R in the 2001 Rolex 24 scheduled for Feb. 5-6 at Daytona International Speedway.

Gentilozzi, the “Rocket Man”, won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1992, the IMSA GTS Manufacturer’s Championship in 1993 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1994. But he is best known as a fierce competitor in the Trans-Am Series where Gentilozzi is the two-time (’98 & ’99) Trans-Am Driver’s Champion and first all-time in starts, “Fast Five’’ starts and top-five finishes. Most recently, Gentilozzi barely missed a “three-peat” finishing second in the 2000 Trans-Am Driver’s Championship.

“We have always prided ourselves a5 being innovative racers at Rocketsports,” stated Gentilozzi. “The opportunity to compete in the jewd of endurance racing in a truly innovative race car was too much to pass up. The Saleen S7R has set a new standard for its class and deserves a win. We intend to be part of that first victory.”

While Saleen will be providing customer support to Rocketsports Racing for the assault on the Rolex, Saleen/Allen Speedlab will use January to concentrate on the development and testing of the S7R to insure a more competitive product for future customers.

“We’re thrilled to have Paul and his Rocketsports Racing running our first customer car, especially at the Rolex,” commented Saleen. “Everyone who follows sports car racing knows of Paul’s competitive nature; he never backs away from challenge. We’re dedicated to a major customer car program with the Salem S7R and we’d be hard pressed to find a better team to run our first customer car.”

The Saleen S7R debuted at Laguna Seca this fall less than two months after its sibling the Saleen S7, was introduced as the first true American supercar at the famed Monterey Historic Races at this same venue. Since then, development of the 7-liter Vg-powered, 6OO-horsepower racecar has been top priority at Saleen’s Southern California-based headquarters. The ACO, ALMS, FIA and Grand-Am have all approved the racecar’s design and Saleen hopes that customer cars will be competing in each ofthe series this year.

Saleen recently announced plans to campaign two Saleen S7R5 in the entire 2001 ALMS season, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The racecars are expected to compete against the Chevrolet Corvettes and the Dodge Vipers in the GTS classification.

Already the famed racing marque, Ecune Ecosse, announced this month that they will campaign a Saleen S7R in the British GT Championship, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ecuria Ecosse effort will be managed by RML, Saleen’s technical partner who assisted in the design and production of the Saleen S7R.

In addition, Saleen hopes to announce plans for another customer to compete a Saleen S7R in the 2001 &and-Am GT Championship, a series which Saleen/Allen Speedlab won the Driver’s, Manufacturer’s and Team Championships last year.

Saleen facilities include total research, engineering, design and assembly capability. Saleen is certified with the federal government as a specialty vehicle manufacturer. Since the company’s inception in 1934, Saleen has produced over 8JOO vehicles, more than any other specialty manufacturer. The company’s line includes the Saleen S281, the Saleen xP8 SUV, the new Saleen 57 supercar, Saleen Engineering and Certification Service, and Saleen Performance Parts, the latter encompassing the complete line of performance and appearance products for Mustangs and Explorers. For more information about Saleen – its people and its products – visit the web site at