Tag Archives: Motorsports

TURNOLOGY: WORLD CHALLENGE RACING ON A SHOESTRING

By: TOM WILSON on December 19, 2018
Original Article: TURNOLOGY.COM

What Baer Taught the Fox: World Challenge Racing on a Shoestring
What Baer Taught the Fox: World Challenge Racing on a Shoestring

If you were a car guy, the late 1980s were like coming in out of the rain. The horrid malaise years of the later ’70s and early ’80s were over and Detroit was finally making new cars that ran as well as the famous but by then thoroughly tired ‘60s iron. Better yet, computer engine controls were offering new paths to power to those willing to learn the new ways of tuning.

As the ’80s closed and the ’90s opened, in Carrollton, Texas a young, hard-working Hal Baer had paid his street and racing dues sufficiently to set up his own shop under the Baer Racing banner. Originally from Tucson and eventually to return to Phoenix, Hal Baer was in the Lone Star State alongside some friends to build cars and make his fortune. One of those friends was Bart Spivey, another budding engineer and also from the wilds of Tucson.

Left: Today the “teal car” has pride of place in the Baer Brakes offices. It’s pretty difficult to ignore your history when it’s sitting right there in the workplace.
Left: Today the “teal car” has pride of place in the Baer Brakes offices. It’s pretty difficult to ignore your history when it’s sitting right there in the workplace.

Together the two could be found smoke wrenching roll cages together and making gear swaps during the day at Baer Racing, then servicing the plumbing shop’s trucks from across the way in their industrial park at night. If that wasn’t enough, Hal had a powder coating business on the side, although with both days and nights spoken for, just what side of the clock that business was on is a mystery.

It was “maniacal” to use Hal’s description. Aside from the Gulf War, the economy was up and running and everyone in the car biz was busy and forward-looking. Fresh, new hardware was hitting the streets and electronic tuning was budding, but it was still early enough the internet was a few years from practical application and no one was so much as dreaming of electric cars. No fewer than four magazines would soon be covering just 5.0 Mustangs, along with more rags detailing the growing sport compact scene, not to mention the legions of a traditional street and muscle machines that backbone the car hobby. Hal was up for getting his share of the action, but he had to get noticed.

Right: The only Ford to sit on a World Challenge pole or win a race, the Baer Racing Mustang punched well above its weight. Like the Saleen Mustangs before it in the Escort Series the Baer car is one of a handful of Fox Mustangs to win in professional racing.
Right: The only Ford to sit on a World Challenge pole or win a race, the Baer Racing Mustang punched well above its weight. Like the Saleen Mustangs before it in the Escort Series the Baer car is one of a handful of Fox Mustangs to win in professional racing.

And so, busy as he was, Hal Baer decided to go World Challenge Racing. Recently he had crewed in the short-lived Corvette Challenge road races as well as done his own Formula Ford driving, so road racing was a natural.

Sanctioned by the well-established Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), World Challenge was designed as a manufacturer’s playground at its highest level, with well-heeled amateurs filling out the back of the grid. But that’s not what Hal noticed. Rather he saw an opportunity to wrench together an attention-getting race car from the sweat of his brow and run it against the big boys. First considering a Corvette—easily the most logical V8 sports car to go road racing with—Hal quickly set such thoughts aside in favor of a more proletarian Mustang. Everyone was running ‘vettes, a 300ZX or a Lotus in the World Challenge A class, so he figured on standing out with a Mustang. Besides, he had been driving and wrenching his own personal ’69 fastback for years by then, so sticking close to the blue oval felt like home. And most importantly of all, “We couldn’t afford a Corvette.”

It wasn’t necessary to go far to find a workable Fox race car in those days, and Hal quickly bought an ’87 LX hatchback in drag racing trim that he found in a Fort Worth junkyard for $600. In fact, Hal discovered he knew the car from when it was new in the Dallas area, and how it had quickly turned into a street-strip car and then some before Hal had lost track of it. A fairly radical drag race car by 1990 standards when he bought it, the chassis gave Hal a small head start of fabricating it into a road racer.

Ironically, the “teal car” spent two-thirds of its racing years in white. The minimalist nature of these street-turned-race cars is suggested in this during-service photo. Not unusual, a T-5 transmission is either going in or out of the chassis.
Ironically, the “teal car” spent two-thirds of its racing years in white. The minimalist nature of these street-turned-race cars is suggested in this during-service photo. Not unusual, a T-5 transmission is either going in or out of the chassis.

Because he was going pro racing, the car got the full treatment from day one. In fact, it got a little bit more than the full treatment as the SCCA was willing to look the other way, “because we were dumb enough to race a Mustang at the top level of World Challenge.” The sanctioning body knew the cheap, flexi-flyer Mustang with the small 302 engines, sketchy suspension and shoebox shape was no threat to Corvettes so they were willing to let Baer Racing take a few liberties to add a little variety and populism to the top World Challenge class.

“They let us run the 3-link and bigger brakes—they were Brembos at first—up front. We over-caged the car [got it good and stiff], snuck in some front suspension tricks concerning Ackermann and other little stuff no one knew enough to check or care about,” says Hal.

Boris Said III made his entry to pro racing in the Baer car. While a difficult debut due to under-funding, the effort certainly helped him get noticed. Eventually, Boris would race almost anything with four wheels from Baja to NASCAR, Le Mans to Daytona.
Boris Said III made his entry to pro racing in the Baer car. While a difficult debut due to under-funding, the effort certainly helped him get noticed. Eventually, Boris would race almost anything with four wheels from Baja to NASCAR, Le Mans to Daytona.

Of the special mods, the 3-link rear suspension was the big deal. Fox Mustangs suffer from a nasty, compromised 4-link rear suspension from Ford that’s just impossible. When the stock suspension compresses, the geometry between the upper and lower links gets increasingly antagonistic. Ultimately the suspension binds, effectively turning the rear axle into a giant sway bar which is what gives a Fox its bar-of-soap-on-the-shower-floor handling. While fiddling with bushings and stiffer suspension arms gave a limited improvement on the street, Hal knew only a complete rear suspension redesign would suffice for wheel-to-wheel racing.

Simply put, Hal’s choice was to eliminate the two upper control arms in favor of a single arm centered above the differential. We drove this rear suspension in Richard Holdener’s Baer Racing Fox Mustang to a Second in class finish in December of 1994 in an SCCA regional race and it handled superbly. Certainly, the 3-link was the foundation of the World Challenge car used to such good effect, especially when the combination gained a supercharger.

If the chassis was a cut above the Mustang norm, the team’s finances were not. Even given the crushing time constraints he and Bart faced, Hal, said, “the real issue was no money. We bought stuff one at a time, as in we’d buy one front caliper, then two weeks later the other front caliper, that sort of thing. We were in so far over our heads but didn’t know it.”

In fact, this triumph of wild enthusiasm over reality was common to many a Mustang story in the go-go ’90s. After two decades on the pro racing sidelines, the Mustang did not have any continuity to its 1960s factory glory days, and the new generation of enthusiasts didn’t really know what they were up against when wheeling onto a pro grid.

But Hal and Baer Racing were soon to find out.

Battered but in front of Corvettes—at least at the moment—this scene summarizes the Baer Racing experience. The Mustang sure looks like a taxicab compared to the low and wide ‘vettes. Typical of Chevy racing, the plastic bowties were “super low and wide, not like a production Corvette at all,” according to Hal Baer.
Battered but in front of Corvettes—at least at the moment—this scene summarizes the Baer Racing experience. The Mustang sure looks like a taxicab compared to the low and wide ‘vettes. Typical of Chevy racing, the plastic bowties were “super low and wide, not like a production Corvette at all,” according to Hal Baer.

As 1990 became 1991 the Baer Racing World Challenge Mustang had taken shape and was ready to contest the ’91 season. A young gun, Boris Said, came on board to pilot the new car and borrowing a friend’s ’76 F-150 Super Cab and an open trailer Baer Racing hit the road. In fact, this same rig would carry the Baer car through the ’91, ’92 and ’93 World Challenge seasons. “We made every race,” Hal recalls. That, by itself, is worth an award of some sort.

If the new team was no direct threat to the factory-supported Chevys or mid-engine Europeans or high-tech Japanese cars, in the best Mustang tradition it proved “good and durable, except for the engine and transmission. We kept changing the engine for power; we didn’t realize how little power we had…” and, “didn’t realize how cheated up the factory stuff was.” Plus the spindly T-5 transmission was hopelessly over-matched by the task at hand.

As old Fox hands recall, the T-5 transmission was light and smooth shifting on the street, but suffered bent shift forks and stripped Third gears at the hands of power-shifting drag racers, not to mention what full-blown road racing would do to them.

Because that was all there was, Baer Racing fed the World Challenge car a steady diet of T-5’s with .85 Fifth gears. “We went through those things like popcorn. Especially when supercharged,” recalls Hal. In fact, the team went into the longer races knowing the transmission was going to fail.

And there was always the shoestring budget. “Lorenzo motors, they came in plastic crates. Ours came out of junkyards. We built our own motors,” using, “stock blocks, stock A9L computers…we were probably 80 hp down just from inefficient tuning.”

“We were a way-underfunded deal the whole time. Doc Bundy [Chevy-backed Corvette driver] once came over and said, ‘Our catering budget is more than your entire weekend.’ But everyone loved the car. It was the underdog. [It] probably wasn’t perceived as a threat to anyone, but it did way better than it should have.”

“In ’92 the Ford skunk works had an early ‘93 Cobra at Road America and it qualified in 53rd behind a Subaru, and we were on the pole. This got Ford interested [back when you had to be a factory team to get any support] and they asked what would happen and we said it was a three-hour race and the car will go out and blow up the transmission in 15 minutes.”

One of the more famous photos of the Baer Mustang leading the way through the Road Atlanta esses was made into a poster. The hard work racing definitely helped legitimize and promote the Baer name when it turned to brake manufacturing.
One of the more famous photos of the Baer Mustang leading the way through the Road Atlanta esses was made into a poster. The hard work racing definitely helped legitimize and promote the Baer name when it turned to brake manufacturing.

“So they said they would hook us up with Don Walsh, the Ford SVO driveline expert. And we told them we were already getting T-5’s from Don by the pallet load. I’d put them in my street car for 500 miles just to wear them in.”

“So the trans blew up in 15 minutes, and not just a little, but enough to blow out the front and rear seals.” That motivated Ford to get Baer Racing something stronger, and what they got was a Tremec T-56 out of a Viper. “It wasn’t optimum gearing and it was heavy, but it didn’t break,” notes Hal.

To show what sort of shenanigans a factory can pull, after Ford went sniffing around for a stronger gearbox, Borg Warner, who owned Tremec, asked Dodge if they could supply the Viper transmission to Baer, and they agreed. To cover its tracks Borg Warner ground the “Viper” out of the transmission housing casting and Bart made a custom bell housing for it. “And that’s the transmission that’s still in the car,” says Hal.

As for engines, the team kept two on hand, both sporting stock short-blocks. “The second short-block [Richard] Holdener found in a junkyard with a broken head stud,” said Hal. To provide the freshest internals Hal pulled the oil pan and, “I turned the rod bearings upside down. I also put some top rings in it and that was that.”

“Both engines were the same,” explains Hal, “decked so the pistons hung out .005-in. and with ½-inch head bolts which were probably a mistake as it would pull the blocks apart.” The cylinder heads were TFS units; the camshaft a solid roller from Crane.

It wasn’t long into the debut ‘91 season when it was beyond obvious the Baer Mustang was far down on power. So the SCCA agreed to a supercharger to help even things up in the early summer of ’91 at the Denver race, and the racer remained supercharged for the rest of its days through ’92 and ’93. The blower was somewhat the work of Todd Gartshore, who had just moved from Corky Bell’s Dallas-based Cartech turbo outfit to Jim Middlebrook’s brand new Vortech outfit in California. He talked his new boss into sending Baer an A-Trim unit which certainly didn’t hurt Vortech’s visibility or Baer’s power curve. Later Gartshore left Vortech and partnered with Hal to form Baer Brakes until Todd’s death in 2011.

Those early A-Trim Vortechs, “…were noisy but strong. The blower was durable. Very. We never hurt it, never sent back to have the bearings checked. They made a lot of improvements since then, but it was always durable.” And just to prove how hard Baer Racing was trying, the Vortech was pullied for 11 pounds of boost on top of the engine’s 11:1 compression ratio. The fact that the engine didn’t instantly die of black death is a testament to both the adiabatic efficiency of the Vortech and high-octane race gas.

Left: Sponsorship logos are few and distantly spaced on the teal car. Borg Warner finally supplied a transmission that would live—the T-56—while Ronal basket weave wheels were super popular on Foxes. Extrude Hone, an industrial tube and pipe shaper did good business smoothing and re-contouring 5.0 HO intake manifolds.
Left: Sponsorship logos are few and distantly spaced on the teal car. Borg Warner finally supplied a transmission that would live—the T-56—while Ronal basket weave wheels were super popular on Foxes. Extrude Hone, an industrial tube and pipe shaper did good business smoothing and re-contouring 5.0 HO intake manifolds.

One reason Baer Racing’s Mustang made such a splash was its driver, Boris Said. While Hal was an accomplished amateur road racer, Boris was an up-and-coming talent with pro aspirations and an exceedingly heavy right foot. He ended up driving the Baer car for every race for all three years the car ran, except for Road America in ’92. Boris had a commitment to the German Touring Car Championship that weekend and his replacement that one time was Andy Pilgrim, a long-time Corvette, and World Challenge driver Hal had known for years.

This was also the one time the car ran on Goodyear rubber due to Andy’s contract with the American tire manufacturer. Otherwise, Yokohama’s were in the wheel wells because of Boris’ contracts. Hal says the Goodyears were definitely faster, “about 1.5 seconds per lap (!)” but would go off after anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and a half. “But the Goodyears were quick enough they’d just came back to where the Yokohamas were,” so the American tires and the teams running them were never at a disadvantage.

Down on power plus at aerodynamic and tire disadvantages, Boris had his work cut out for him. “He deserved a better ride,” recalls Hal. “He got poles and fastest laps but the car wasn’t competitive or reliable over a race distance.” That doesn’t mean he didn’t try. A young tiger, Boris was constantly looking inside himself for more speed and, of course, the frustration of it all led to moments, “but we lasted all three seasons,” said Hal.

Right: Vortech stepped to the front of the centrifugal supercharging pack seemingly the first day they went on sale in 1990. Modern design, efficiency and above all, robust reliability made them an instant favorite. Vortech reliability was likely never better demonstrated than on the Baer World Challenge racer.
Right: Vortech stepped to the front of the centrifugal supercharging pack seemingly the first day they went on sale in 1990. Modern design, efficiency and above all, robust reliability made them an instant favorite. Vortech reliability was likely never better demonstrated than on the Baer World Challenge racer.

Of course, the experience of working for it in the Baer car helped Boris develop, and he went on to a winning career in international sports cars plus 54 starts in NASCAR’s headline series.

While the Baer Racing Mustang certainly gained its share of publicity the two years it ran in white and sometimes labeled as a Saleen SC and carrying a Saleen body kit, today it’s best remembered as the teal BluBlocker sunglasses car of its final 1993 season. If nothing else, the livery is a standout scheme, and we’ve had a couple of decades to remember it that way as Hal has kept the car in its final as-raced form in the Baer Brakes showroom.

At the time the BluBlocker sponsorship was a major step up for Baer Racing, “so we tried to run three cars [in all three World Challenge classes],” recalls Hal. “That was a mistake, I should have run one car and bought a motor program and won the championship.” He’s no doubt correct as the Baer team finished Third in the ’93 championship—their best result—and certainly would have done better with a stronger engine program.

In fact, Baer Racing had built two other World Challenge Mustangs for the lower World Challenge classes. One for ex-amateur motocross racer and Bondurant instructor Spencer Sharp (son of Scott Sharp and grandson of Bob Sharp of BRE Datsun fame) and journalist-racer Richard Holdener. This was on top of building six hardcore Mustangs for the Bondurant Pro Search program along with running the BluBlocker car. It was all too much for too little.

By the end of the ’93 season, the effort had run its course. Hal, Bart, and friends were worn out, Boris was ready to move up and it was time for Hal to quit hemorrhaging money and try to make some for a change. So the racer was parked and Hal brought in Todd Gartshore along with third partner Robert Sommers to incorporate Baer Brakes in January of ‘94.

The focus on brakes was natural for Hal. In the late ‘80s he had been introduced to the Australian PBR twin-piston caliper used on the Corvette. This is the brake that ended up on the World Challenge car, and Hal was, “buying them $48 for a full caliper load. We were putting new ones on every two races, so the old ones went on my [‘69] Mustang.” This supply of used PBR calipers quickly over-ran Hal’s Mustang’s ability to consume them and with a little bracketry magic, the PBR’s soon became a stable addition to the street Foxes coming through the Baer Racing shop. When the racing stopped and it was time to get into brake business, PBR was the bedrock of Baer’s first offerings before they branched into making their own.

So, was all the World Challenge work worth it? “I wouldn’t go do it again!” said Hal with emphasis, but then he quickly noted, “It certainly gave us a name…a subterranean culture deal… [It] helped when starting Baer Brakes. But obviously, there are way better ways to make money!”


Tom Wilson
Infatuated by things that make noise and go fast, Tom has been writing about cars and airplanes for over 35 years. So far that’s meant a decade editing Super Ford magazine, plus long associations with Road & Track, MSN Autos and more lately Kitplanes magazine. It’s also meant some SCCA racing and a lot of fun sampling everything from Trans Am cars to F1 chassis as part of “work.” Besides the racing hobby Tom enjoys flying his biplane, plinking tin cans and messing around with telescopes.

[Source: Turnology]

SALEEN ANNOUNCES NEW SINGLE-MAKE SERIES

By: DANIEL LLOYD on March 1, 2019
Original Article: SPORTSCAR365.COM

Saleen Automotive returns to racing with new Cup series launched for 2019…

2019 Saleen 1 Cup car. Photo: Saleen Automotive
2019 Saleen 1 Cup car. Photo: Saleen Automotive

Saleen Automotive has announced a new single-make series that will support Blancpain GT World Challenge America later this year.

As first reported by Sportscar365 in October, the Saleen Cup will be dedicated to the racing version of the manufacturer’s 450-horsepower Saleen S1 sports car, which was launched last year.

The five-round championship “arrive and drive” series will feature 20 cars plus spares prepared and transported by the California-based company, and comes with a chance to win a “factory seat” in its GT4 lineup next year.

Further details of Saleen’s involvement with the S1 in GT4, including timescales, have yet to be established.

Round 1 of the Saleen Cup is set to take place at Sonoma Raceway in early June, followed by stops at Portland International Raceway, Watkins Glen International and Road America before concluding in Las Vegas in October.

The series will be open to standard ‘D’ licensed drivers while two-person crews will be permitted in a bid to help spread individual costs.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Saleen Cup Series to the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule for the 2019 season,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“The Saleen name is instantly recognizable to every race fan and I have fond memories of the wonderful S7-R competing in the FIA GT Championship more than a decade ago.

“The new Saleen 1 is an exciting new project for the brand and the ‘arrive-and-drive’ concept is the ideal way to showcase it at some of the most iconic circuits in the United States.”

Saleen emerged on the global endurance racing scene in the 1990s with specially modified Ford Mustangs, before running its own S7-R supercar in the 2001 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The manufacturer went on to win the Le Mans GT1 class through Larbre Competition in 2010 while the S7-R also raced extensively in the American Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship and various national competitions.

“The Saleen Cup is the next chapter in our company’s return to motorsports,” said Steve Saleen, CEO and founder of Saleen Automotive.

“Racing is in the DNA of everything we do at Saleen. The technology and design of the new Saleen 1 model is a direct result of extensive track testing and development, so it’s only natural that the new model makes its debut on some of the most iconic racetracks in America.”

Format, Costs Outlined

Saleen’s director of motorsports Gabriele Cadringher confirmed that Cup events will comprise of two 50-minute races with grids decided by 30 minutes of qualifying spread over two sessions.

Single or two-driver lineups are permitted, with each race carrying a mandatory pit stop but no tire changes.

Three sets of Continental tires will be available to each entry per weekend.

Cadringher projected that the total cost of a full-season program this year will be $190,000 ($38,000 per event) if submitted before April, rising to $210,000 afterward.

2019 Saleen Cup Schedule:
June 7-9 – Sonoma Raceway
July 12-14 – Portland International Raceway
Aug. 30 – Sept. 1 – Watkins Glen International
Sept. 20-22 – Road America
Oct. 18-20 – Las Vegas

Click here to participate in the discussion.


Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

[Source: sportscar 365]

SALEEN LAUNCHES S1 CUP SERIES

SALEEN RETURNS TO AUTO RACING WITH LAUNCH OF SALEEN CUP SERIES

High-performance vehicle manufacturer partners with SRO Motorsports Group
to introduce with world’s first professional-level “arrive-and-drive” series,
designed to showcase new Saleen 1 model

Five-race schedule will coincide with Blancpain GT World Challenge America,
June 7 to Oct. 20, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (March 1, 2019) – One of the most successful marques in GT racing history is returning to motorsports with the introduction of a single make series designed to showcase the world’s newest turbocharged mid-engine sports car.

Steve Saleen with Saleen 1 Cup car
Steve Saleen with Saleen 1 Cup car

The Saleen Cup, which was announced today during a press conference at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is being presented via a partnership with SRO Motorsports Group, and will run concurrently with the Blancpain GT World Challenge America. The single-make series invites drivers to be among the first in the world to experience the Saleen 1 on five iconic race tracks throughout the U.S. As the first-ever professional qualify “Arrive-and-drive” series, the five events will be supported by 20 track-ready cars maintained, prepped and transported to race venues by Saleen – offering prospective drivers and enthusiasts a turnkey, once-in-a-lifetime racing opportunity – plus a chance to win a factory seat in Saleen’s GT4 entry throughout the 2020 season.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Saleen 1 Cup Series to the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule for the 2019 season,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. “The Saleen name is instantly recognizable to every race fan and I have fond memories of the wonderful S7-R competing in the FIA GT Championship more than a decade ago. The new Saleen 1 is an exciting new project for the brand and the “arrive-and-drive” concept is the ideal way to showcase it al some of the most iconic circuits in the United States. I look forward to the inaugural event at Sonoma Raceway in June.”

2019 Saleen 1 Cup
2019 Saleen 1 Cup

“The Saleen Cup is the next chapter in our company’s return to motorsports,” and Steve Saleen, CEO and founder of Saleen Automotive. “Racing is in the DNA of everything we do at Saleen. The technology and design of the new Saleen 1 model is a direct result of extensive track-testing and development, so it’s only natural that the new model makes its debut on some of the most iconic racetracks in America.”

“Racing one of our cars on these legendary tracks will change your life – not to mention the way you look at driving – forever,” added Saleen. “The Saleen Cup Series gives racers and mainstream enthusiasts this unforgettable experience and serves as the ultimate proving ground for the Saleen 1.”

Gabriele Cadringher recently joined Saleen as director of motorsports and will lead the Saleen Cup. The former technical director and consultant for FIA and Grand-Am will use the five-race events to further hone the track capabilities of the Saleen 1.

Uniquely, the Saleen Cup is open to standard “D” licensed drivers, and offers a distinct professional-level racing experience, in which each car is equally prepared and maintained in-house, including back-up cars, plus transported to each race event. The Saleen Cup also features two racer teams, which can split the cost for participants and offer more affordable racing opportunities. At the conclusion of the five-race series, category champions in the Saleen Cup will secure a factory seat driving in Saleen’s GT4 entry for the entire 2020 season.

The Saleen Cup will consist of five racings scheduled for the second half of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America, and kicks-off at Sonoma Raceway in California Wine Country in June. Drivers who are able to compete in the five races through October 20 are now being actively recruited. Information on the Saleen Cup is available at www.SaleenCup.com:

  • Sonoma Raceway (Calif.) – June 7-9, 2019
  • Portland International Raceway (Ore.) – July 12-14, 2019
  • Watkins Glen (NY) – August 30 – Sept. 1, 2019
  • Road America (Wis.) – Sept. 20-22, 2019
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV) – Oct. 18-20, 2019

Saleen’s innovative Saleen 1 model was recently unveiled as a major breakthrough for the venerated high-performance vehicle manufacturer, headquartered in Corona, Calif. Boasting innovative chassis design and performance influenced by Saleen’s legendary S7 supercar, the 450hp turbocharged 2.2-liter, four-cylinder Saleen 1 marks the latest in the company’s Saleen Original line.

For more information on the Saleen Cup, visit www.SaleenCup.com. For more information on the Saleen 1 model, visit www.Saleen.com, or follow Saleen on social media using Facebook at Facebook.com/Saleen , or by using @Saleen on Twitter and @Saleen on Instagram.

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: Saleen Automotive]

SALEEN S1 CUP SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT

By: JOHN DAGYS on October 27, 2018
Original Article: SPORTSCAR365.COM

SALEEN TO LAUNCH CUP SERIES WITH NEW S1; PLANNING GT4 CAR
Saleen to launch single-make series with new S1 next year; GT4 car planned for 2020

Pre-production Saleen S1. Photo: John Dagys
Pre-production Saleen S1. Photo: John Dagys

Saleen will make its racing return next year with the formation of single-make series with its new S1, ahead of a planned GT4 version of the sports car for 2020.

The California-based manufacturer has unveiled plans to launch Cup series in both North America and China with the 450-horsepower car beginning with the second half of next year.

Longtime FIA technical director Gabriele Cadringher, who most recently worked with Grand-Am and Lamborghini in technical capacities, has joined Saleen as its new director of motorsports.

A pre-production version of the road car is on display at this weekend’s California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The plan is to start a Cup series next year,” Cadringher told Sportscar365.

“We are discussing with PWC/Blancpain GT America with Greg [Gill] and Stephane [Ratel] to run with them in the second part of the year.”

Cadringher said the arrive-and-drive series will feature five events in 2019, with two 50-minute races on each weekend and up to two drivers per car.

It will also include a category for young drivers, with the class champion securing an all-paid for drive in the manufacturer’s GT4 car for the following season.

The U.S. series will run in parallel to a single-make cup in China, with discussions underway with series in the region, including the China GT Championship, for sanction agreements.

A total of 45 chassis for the Cup car are set to be produced, with at least 20 allocated for the North American market, which will be rolled out prior to the final production car.

“We will build our first Cup prototype in December and in the beginning of January we’ll finalize the spec after a couple of weeks on track,” Cadringher said.

“That will be our development car, which in the second part of the year, it will transform into the prototype of the GT4.”

Cadringher said the Saleen S1 GT4 car will be largely based off the Cup car, including the same 2.3-liter turbo engine from the production car.

Saleen has outlined plans to build 10,000 S1 road cars within the next five years, both at its facilities in Corona, Calif. and in China, at an estimated price tag of $100,000 each.

The GT4 car, meanwhile, is slated to launch in 2020.

“The Cup car will be a pre-series of the GT4,” Cadringher explained. “I’m speaking with Stephane and Claude Surmont [SRO technical director] about the details of the GT4 already.

“My plan is to come on the market with the GT4 car much cheaper than anyone else. I want to sell this car for $160-170,000, ready to be raced.”

Additional Racing Platforms in Pipeline

Cadringher indicated that additional motorsports plans are in the pipeline for the manufacturer, which is making its racing comeback for the first time since the Saleen S7R project in the 2000s.

The Italian hinted at a possible GT3 car in the future, potentially based off a yet-to-be-announced new Saleen road car.

Cadringher, however, has stressed that it will come step by step, with the focus being on the Cup series and GT4 car for the time being.

“Let’s do a Cup, let’s learn from the car and then do a GT4. Then we will see in the future,” he said.

“Steve is still a racing driver. He still races every single day in the office.

“I like that kind of approach because he has raced, the Mustang has raced and the S7 has raced. This new car, from the very beginning, was to race it.”

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com
Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

Twitter; Instagram; LinkedIn

[Source: sportscar 365]

HAGERTY: THE SCCA RACETRUCK CHALLENGE

The SCCA RaceTruck Challenge was Pole Position Mayhem

By: BENJAMIN HUNTING on October 02, 2018
Original Article: HAGERTY.COM

Long before Stadium Super Trucks entered the global racing consciousness, and in a time predating even NASCAR’s involvement in pickup racing, the Sports Car Club of America unveiled perhaps the most unusual professional class in its long and storied history. It was a tightly-contested battle between the least likely of competitors: high-riding four-cylinder trucks not all that different from what you could drive home right off the showroom floor.

The SCCA RaceTruck Challenge—initially branded by Coors, then redubbed the SCCA Truck Guard Shellzone Challenge a few years later—started in 1987 and ran through 1991. During that time, it gathered together a who’s who of the mini-truck world, including nine different automakers represented (with varying degrees of official sanction) that fought it out over the course of the season across the United States. During its five-year tenure, the series would support both the open-wheel CART championship as well as Trans-Am, in addition to being featured on its own alongside other classes of competition on SCCA weekends.

Nearly stock

Mark Windecker
Mark Windecker

Like any racing series, the RaceTruck Challenge had its own set of rules. But the list of prohibitions loomed especially large when it came to the degree of modifications that teams were permitted to make to each of the trucks. Striking a balance between a Showroom Stock class and one that recognized that, “Hey, maybe pickups aren’t quite ready to tackle a high speed corner right out of the box,” RaceTrucks were allowed to swap in stiffer bushings, more appropriate shocks, and make a few other tweaks to the vehicle’s suspension. As long as trucks remained eight inches off of the ground, as measured from the rocker panels.

Under the hood, everything had to stay stock, although teams could reassemble or “blueprint” their engines rather than run a sealed factory unit. The trucks were strippers, featuring torn-down interiors and zero options, with A/C and other niceties left off of the order sheet. They ran full cages, race seats, and steering wheels, and used racing pads and shoes. Yes, that means the rear brakes were drums, just like the ones sitting on the dealer lot.

Mark Windecker
Mark Windecker

Stock horsepower was far from evenly distributed across the models that lineup up for the SCCA RaceTruck Challenge. At one end of the spectrum were pickups like the Dodge Ram 50/Mitsubishi Mighty Max, Jeep Comanche, Mazda B2300 and the Ford Ranger (campaigned under a Saleen badge with none other than Steve Saleen himself behind the wheel), which offered 110–120 ponies, while others from Isuzu were below the century mark. Hovering in between were entries like the Nissan D21 and the Toyota Truck, forcing the SCCA to introduce weight handicapping—sometimes by adding nearly 200 pounds of ballast to the quickest truckst—to even out the field.

Minimal power, maximum fun

Mark Windecker
Mark Windecker

The racing itself was fun to watch, and if you weren’t able to be there in person during the Racetruck series’ heyday, then you can catch highlights on YouTube. There was banging, sliding, numerous lead changes, and five-wide dashes down the front straight. Not the grippiest of steeds, to be sure (considering their weight concentrated forward of the center axis), nor the most aerodynamic despite air dams and other ground effects, the pickups relied on luck and the skill of their drivers rather than raw power or flashy top speeds to carry the day.

Typically, events ran 25 laps, although on longer and shorter courses that number could be massaged to keep things around the 50-mile mark. Tracks that saw Challenge competition included Mosport, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Mid-Ohio, Texas World Speedway, Las Vegas International, Laguna Seca, and Sears Point.

It was a remarkably even series in terms of both individual accomplishments and the manufacturer standings. Nissan won twice in a row (after having lost by one point to Jeep in 1988), along with two drivers championships (including the inaugural by driver Max Jones). Steve Saleen’s remarkable 5-of-6 win effort sealed the overall crown for Ford in ’91 (previous seasons contained 9–11 races).

While the RaceTruck Challenge was definitely entertaining, the field shrank as time went on, dropping from a high of 19 trucks entered per event during the 1988 season to 10 the final two years. Mitsubishi dropped out by ’89, and Toyota was gone a couple of years later. Flagging interest spelled doom, and 1991 was the final season of the RaceTruck Challenge.

Looking back, looking ahead

Mark Windecker
Mark Windecker

The legacy of SCCA RaceTrucks soon bore fruit. Jeep would produce the Comanche Eliminator from 1988–92, a two-wheel drive street warrior that delivered 177 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque from a 4.0-liter straight six, while Saleen would build a handful of hopped-up Ranger Sport Trucks. Whether GM’s limited experience in the series (the Chevy S-10 was a late entry) would have anything to do with the genesis of the turbocharged GMC Syclone is anyone’s guess, but at the very least the Challenge proved that there was an interest in mini-trucks that did more than just haul.

Looking at the pickup market today reveals intriguing potential for a revival of a similar-type road racing grudge match between brands like Toyota and Nissan, who never gave up on the entry-level truck segment. Meanwhile, Chevy is back with the Colorado and Ford is joining the re-joining the party with the U.S.-market Ranger—both automakers briefly turned their backs on anything smaller than full-size. Although today’s mid-sizers are significantly larger than anything RaceTruck-related, power plants are also much mightier, raising both the stakes—and the ride heights—for potential pole position mayhem.

Mark Windecker
Mark Windecker

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[Source: Hagerty]

RESTORATION COMPLETE: SALEEN S7 03-031R

By: FLORENT MOULIN

We are very proud to present a selection of pictures of the Saleen S7R GT1 chassis 031R after its in-house restoration by Art & Revs. It was a real joy and moment of pride to put the car in our studio after working so hard for such a result.

The great 031R was ordered together with 029R in late 2003 by ACEMCO, an important US company in the motor car industry in the US. The aim was to compete at the highest level in ALMS and Le Mans, notably against the factory Corvettes ran by Pratt & Miller. ACEMCO had by this time built up a fantastic racing team around Ron Mack and Jim Bell.

This legendary car raced in the 2005 ALMS including an 8th overall finish at Sebring 12 Hours and it finished second in the Championship. The pinnacle of its history came certainly in 2006 when it raced at Le Mans 24 hours, finishing an impressive 11th place overall, making 031R the first Saleen to ever finish the world’s most prestigious endurance race. This important result bears testimony to the car’s performance and reliability.

The car was not used in 2007 and 2008, and was sold to Europe in 2009 to be raced in the FIA GT Championship with K Plus K, driven by Karl Wendlinger and Ryan Sharp, notably winning Silverstone’s Tourist Trophy among other motorsport firsts. Back then the competition between Maserati, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Saleen was at its height.

Very few know the S7R’s history and that the first series of S7Rs were actually engineered and built at RML in UK. However the « Evo » version was totally re-engineered by Saleen in their all new factory at Irvine in California, this is where they also built the 4,000 Ford GTs on behalf of Ford. 029R & 031R were the first Evo cars built and accordingly benefited from all new chassis, suspension, gearbox and aero. The Saleen S7 7.0 liter engines were in fact built from Ford`s 5.0 liter « small » block and reliability has always been a real issue. It has to be said that the engines built at Roush-Yates have always been disappointing and notably deprived most of the S7Rs from finishing Le Mans.

In the first stages of their Saleen project, ACEMCO being generously funded, contracted Panoz ( Elan Technologies ) to build up a 7.0 liter version of their largely proven LMP900 engine, originally a 6.0 liter. The Elan 7.0 liter was a total success and ACEMCO would never retire because of an engine failure. In unrestricted specifications, 031R’s engine recently shown 728 HP on the dyno at Elan after its rebuild. Only the two original ACEMCO cars would actually be equipped with the fantastic Elan engine and four units were built.

031R was completely stripped down to its bare components by Art & Revs and meticulously restored and reassembled by our highly skilled staff, most of whom have a large experience in Formula 1 or Endurance.All of the car’s components were reconditioned or replaced in close collaboration with the original suppliers wherever possible, just like the engine which was rebuilt at Elan. For safety purposes, the major components were crack tested.

This highly iconic silver S7R is now ready for new adventures on the historic racing scene and more widely in the classic car world. This is a great part of the Saleen S7R legend, the first all-American supercar to ever compete at Le Mans and in major international championships.

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: Art & Revs]

LEMANS COMPETITION SALEEN MUSTANG HITS MARKET

Saleen Mustang LeMans Race Car
Saleen Mustang LeMans Race Car

Details:
Seller: Geoffrey H. Wright / Geoff Wright
Company:
Country: United Kingdom
City: Atherstone
Phone: 01827713335 / 07834381164
Currency: GBP
Trade or Private: Private
Price: £POA
Added: 09/10/2018
racecarsdirect.com

Description:
Saleen Mustang Chassis #2 Ford V8 5900cc

As raced at Le Mans in 1997. Driven by Steve Saleen, Price Cobb & Carlos Palau.

The complete car is in superb condition and comes with some spares. It has been owned and raced by Allen Lloyd since 1997.

Call for more info:
Geoff Wright
Mobile 07834 381164
Office IOM 01624 822424
Office UK 01827 713335

[Source: racecarsdirect.com]

ORIGINAL SALEEN/ALLEN SPEEDLAB TEAM GEAR & ARTIFACTS TO HIT eBAY

Saleen / Allen Speedlab eBay auction
Saleen / Allen Speedlab eBay auction

Our friend Marni Nagy (Johnson) is offering a rare collection of original gear from the Saleen/Allen Speedlab race team. Most items are from the 1995-2000 era of Saleen competition history.

Items include: Hoods, Doors, Drivers Suits, Crew Suits, Crew Shirts (new and used), Hats and MORE!!!

All artifacts will be offered through the eBay auction website. Each item will feature “Saleen Speedlab” in their description. Sales will begin September 7, 2018.

Through a special agreement, Steve Saleen agreed to autograph all auction items after sale. In addition, for a limited time there will be free California delivery to winning bidders attending the Annual Saleen Open House & Car Show in Corona.

To see these teriffic items visit: sun.burn on eBay.

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FUEL CURVE: BIGGER IS BETTER, THE BAER BRAKES STORY

Bigger is Better, The Baer Brakes Story
Before there was a Baer Brakes there was Baer Racing

By: JOHN DRUMMOND on October 26, 2017
Original Article: FUELCURVE.COM

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

Like others before him, Hal Baer (Pictured below at right) wasn’t born making high-performance brakes. Ed Iskenderian didn’t invent the camshaft, nor did Vic Edelbrock invent the aluminum intake manifold, but all brought innovation, dedication, and most importantly high quality, race-leading, affordable products that dramatically changed the high-performance aftermarket. Baer was recognized by Hot Rod Magazine as one of ten companies that changed hot rodding in 2007.

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes story is decades in the making. Hal was one of the millions of kids growing up in the late 60s and early 70s right along with the American Muscle car boom. He dove deeper than most, buying parts, learning on his own, and working on a series of Mustangs all while earning a living painting houses and modifying the occasional car in his native Arizona.

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

Baer informally drag raced the Mustangs right out of high school becoming an early adopter of nitrous oxide garnering a reputation for building cars that ran way better than they looked. Within a few years, he decided to try road racing with his ‘69 Mustang building something that hadn’t been seen before. It was an unusual mix for the time, a car that went quick in a straight line, but also could now turn and stop better.

In 1986, Baer made a life-changing decision to move to Dallas, Texas where he had a core group of friends. To pay the bills, Hal and his small team installed parts, worked on muscle car restorations and helped their small customer base with suspension set-ups; roll bar/cage installations, and increasingly complex fabrication. Whatever the business that came through the doors, the goal remained the same, go racing. And that meant IMSA Firehawk, Escort Endurance Challenge, Corvette Challenge and World Challenge. That is how this smallish new business became Baer Racing.

Brake Through

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

Through a series of relationships, breakthrough’s and lady luck, Hal was hired by Ford to do developmental mule work on a series of Ford-supplied vehicles including an early production version of the 1987 Mustang. More breakthroughs and more road racing began to unfold ultimately winding up with an entry (a 1987 Mustang) in SCCA’s World Challenge in 1992. The driver? Boris Said III – the king of carving up twisty tracks. At the time, Corvettes (and their new large front brakes) were major players in the class. When it became evident the Baer Racing Fox Body Mustang’s cast iron calipers and rotors were insufficient in slowing at race speeds, Hal, ever the hot rodder, put the Corvette C4 brakes (manufactured by Australia’s PBR at the time) on his Fox Body car. With Said driving and sponsorship from Blue Blocker sunglasses, the car began to dominate. The brakes made all the difference. Baer Brakes was born.

A calculated move back to Phoenix, AZ in 1993 accelerated the company’s success as it moved into full production on brake systems, not ‘kits’, as the complete systems approach allows the customer to easily replicate Baer’s track and street success. Baer also phased out managing race teams and schedules and focused on manufacturers including GM, Ford & Volvo, along with skunkworks operations like Gulstrand, Metalcrafters, and the Archer Bros. With their convenient Arizona proving ground operations along with producing specialized vehicles like the Bondurant School cars, Shelby Mustangs and Chip Foose customs – things got real busy real fast for Hal and his wife Gabi.

Bigger is Better

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

As American auto manufacturers began implementing low profile tires and bigger wheels in the 1990s (as did hot rodders), the need for larger calipers and rotors also increased. Those puny cast calipers so common on American production cars looked downright awful behind the larger rolling stock. Hal and Baer Brakes had the solution. Baer was at the forefront of the movement and were the first manufacturer to offer high quality, handsome looking big brake kits for the Detroit’s latest offerings as well as the hot rod and muscle car market. It didn’t matter what the make was, Baer offered a kit for it. Through rapid growth, extensive R & D and their American based manufacturing, Baer Brakes began to clearly emerge as the industry leader.

The aftermarket industry then adopted the term big brake kit (BBK) as the standard for a brake upgrade package that included larger diameter rotors, and improved calipers along with some of the associated parts needed for the conversions. Then came the new millennium and the beginning of the Pro-Touring explosion.

Stopping the Supercars

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

When Mark Stielow developed a road race-worthy Camaro for the One-Lap of America then coined the phrase “Pro-Touring”, Baer Brakes market share was about to explode. In addressing a better-handling, better performing American muscle car to cast aside the Pro Street beasts of the 19th century, the new Pro-Touring movement gathered so much steam it eventually became the new landscape of hot rodding. Baer’s proven methods of bigger, better brakes and superior craftsmanship put them on the minds of younger as well as established builders seeking show awards but more importantly, performance and handling. Baer had the supply necessary to meet the new demand.

Baer Brakes, Baer Racing, Fuel CurveFrom day one, R.J. Gottlieb’s Big Red Camaro has been equipped with Baer 6 Piston brakes and no wonder as only Baer has offered forged mono-block calipers, the kind used for NASCAR, LeMans and Sebring, for American muscle cars. Made from 2618 the same alloy used in high-end racing pistons, Baer’s mono-block calipers are one piece, not two halves bolted together for far greater stiffness and strength at temperatures where 6061 and 7075 can’t go.

The now-standard red caliper was introduced by Baer as were drilled, slotted and zinc-washed rotors with lightweight aluminum hats. Baer‘s Custom Shop was the first to offer an endless variety of custom colors and specialized coatings like electroless nickel as well as custom milled logo’s like those used by The Roadster Shop, Ringbrothers, Rad Rides, and dozens more. Through the 90s and into the new millennium Baer has developed a full line of brake systems from affordable four piston S4’s through the king of the hill mono-block XTR as well as the massive GR6 Grizzly which fits a large range of domestic cars and trucks with factory 15” wheels through 22’s and beyond.

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve

You will find Baer Brakes on nearly every prominent car in hot rodding, Pro-Touring and of course on the racetrack where this entire Baer Brakes story began. If stopping safely while looking good is your end game, Baer Brakes can make the difference.

The Baer Brakes Story, Fuel Curve


John Drummond
Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

[Source: Fuel Curve]