Tag Archives: Motorsports

SALEENS S7Rs RACE TO THE FINISH AT 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

LE MANS, June 17, 2001 – ABC’s Wide World of Sports has often suggested that sports involve the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Well, that may be true for athletic adventures that last for less than three hours, some less than ten seconds. But for those participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans the emotions are more of sheer physical and mental exhaustion and the pride of finishing this momentous race.

At Le Mans, while winning is the ultimate objective for any manufacturer, the honor traditionally bestowed to those who finish this 24 hour marathon is timeless. At Le Mans, to finish is also victory.

That is why a few moments after the #1 Audi, the overall winner, crossed the finished line at 4 p.m. on Sunday, those gathered in the Saleen pit suite toasted the drivers and crews of the two Saleen S7Rs to finish the 2002 classic. Last year, the #60 Saleen/Allen Speedlab factory car gained a well-earned third-place podium finish in the Saleen S7R’s inaugural trip to Le Mans, setting the fastest lap en route.

This year, Saleen customer teams took the battle to the two factory Corvettes and a nest of Chrysler Vipers. The #68 RML/Graham Nash Saleen S7R finished fifth in GTS behind the #63 Corvette that won for the second-straight year at the 8.5-mile Sarthe Circuit. The #66 Konrad Motorsport, driven by last year’s podium mates Franz Konrad and Terry Borcheller, was seventh in class in spite of four hours lost replacing a gearbox that was
holed by a stone.

“We’re real proud of the effort put forth by our customer teams this year,” stated Steve Saleen, the creator of the S7R. “They not only had to compete against a well-financed factory effort, but also had to deal with a tremendous handicap imposed by the ACO. We are looking forward to the day that we can compete with the Vettes and the Vipers on a level playing field. We’re sure the result will be quite different.”

All three Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7Rs return to action in the British and Spanish GT Championships both of which they currently lead. The Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7Rs will battle the factory Corvettes in the next rounds of the American Le Mans series at Mid-Ohio (June 30) and Road America (July 7).

FELLOWS PRAISES PIT CREW

By: N.A. on May 29, 2001
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

The Saleens were faster in the pre-qualifying session for next month’s 24 Hours of LeMans. But when it comes to the famed twice-around-the-clock race, Ron Fellows is confident his pit crew will carry the day for Corvette Racing.

“We were a couple of seconds faster than we were last year,” said Fellows, who will be honoured on June 7 as Mississauga’s athlete of the year. “But the Saleens were two seconds faster than us.”

“I’m not that worried, though. I think the Corvette is a faster car. And in the race we’ll have a far superior race team. At (the 12 Hours of) Sebring I think we would have been faster than the Saleens if it were not for the starter motor problems. We were 10 seconds faster than them in our pit stops and that’s a huge edge.”

Fellows will share the wheel with Johnny O’Connell and Scott Pruett. Pruett, a former CART driver who had an ill-fated, one-year run in NASCAR’s Winston Cup series last season, replaces Chris Kneifel, who retired as an active driver to become CART’s chief steward.

ASARO THIRD:
Unionville’s Billy Asaro, who won three consecutive U.S. Formula 2000 series races, settled for a third-place finish in Sunday’s rain-delayed “Night Before The Indy” event at Indianapolis Raceway Park, not to be confused with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Asaro, who qualified seventh, managed to work his way up to third place and a spot on the podium for the fourth consecutive race, but was unable to catch Mexico’s Piero Rodate, who took his first checkered flag. Tommy Constantine of Greece was second.

BURTON CONFIDENT:
“I don’t want to sound facetious or cocky, but it felt normal,” NASCAR driver Jeff Burton said after Sunday’s win in the Coca-Cola 600. “Winning is what Roush Racing is all about.” Burton’s teammates Mark Martin and Kurt Busch were fourth and 12th respectively in the race.

TRIPLE HEADER?
When asked about second-place 600 finisher Kevin Harvick’s tongue-in-cheek plan to run 1,400 miles next Memorial Day weekend (the Grand National race at the speedway Saturday, then the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday), Tony Stewart said Harvick was fit enough to do so. “They just need to keep him out of bars,” Stewart quipped.

INDY FOLLOW-UP:
When Team Penske duo Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran finished 1-2 in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 it marked only the third time teammates have crossed the finish line in that order. The last time was in 1999 when Arie Luwendyk won and Treadway Racing teammate Scott Goodyear, the Toronto native, was second. . . . Castroneves’ victory, following last year’s win by Juan Montoya, marked only the second time in race history that rookies have won in back-to-back years. . . . Scott Sharp was the fifth pole-sitter to finish last. Greg Ray ended up last a year ago after taking the pole. . . . Sharp was only the second pole-sitter not to complete even a lap of the race. The other was Roberto Guerrero. . . . Michael Andretti, who finished third but led briefly, became the only driver to lead the 500 in three different decades.

NEXT FOR CART:
Helio Castroneves and the five other CART drivers who raced in the Indy 500 return to the CART series this weekend with Sunday’s event at the Milwaukee Mile.

NASCAR TOPS:
NASCAR dominated a new ESPN poll measuring fan response to the favourite type of auto racing in the U.S.A. NASCAR won 55 per cent of votes while drag racing, with 12.2 per cent, outdistanced both open wheel (CART – 9.1 per cent) and F1 (3.9 per cent). Drag racing makes its only Canadian national event stop this weekend when the International Hot Rod Association tour visits the Grand Bend Motorplex. More than 30,000 attended the three-day event’s Canadian debut last June.

LATE RACING NEWS

By: N.A. on May 21, 2001
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 51, ISSUE 22

Weaver out at Bentley
James Weaver will not race for Bentley in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Weaver pulled out of the recent pre-race test day for what the team described as personal reasons, and it will be confirmed this week that the 46-year-old has decided against taking his place in the second Bently EXP Speed 8. Speculation insists that he has expressed safety concerns in the wake of Audi driver Michele Alboreto’s death at the Lausitzring last month, a test at which Weaver was present with Bentley. Weaver is believed to be unhappy that the car is not fitted with tire-pressure sensors. Perry McCarthy appears the most likely replacement to team with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. He was on hand at the test day as a so-called reserve but didn’t drive.

Saleen to FIA GT?
Steve Saleen says his Sebring-winning S7R will be produced in sufficient numbers for it to be eligible for the FIA GT Championship next year. But a possible rule change could legislate away any possibility of his radical contender contesting the European-based series. Championship boss Stephane Ratel reckons that the present requirement for 25 road versions of each race car should be increased. “This series should be for high-volume production cars with which the public can identify, so to my mind 25 cars is not enough,” he said. The plan will be discussed in the coming weeks.

Prodrive illegal
Race and rally specialist Prodrive’s new Ferrari 550 Maranello racer has been declared illegal for the FIA GT Championship. The car was meant to debut in last weekend’s Silverstone round, but it was found to contravene the series rules on the eve of the meeting. The new car runs a transverse Xtrac racing gearbox in place of the road car’s longitudinal original, but the rules stipulate that the orientation of the transmission must remain the same. Prodrive insist that only the orientation of the gear cluster has been changed and that the gearbox still runs fore and aft and therefore is legal. A clarification was being sought ahead of this weekend’s round at Zolder, Belgium.

Donlavey taps Simo
Winston Cup team owner Junie Donlavey has hired TransAm Series champ Brian Simo to drive Donlavey’s Ford at Sears Point in June and Watkins Glen in August. Simo will replace Hut Stricklin for those two Cup races. “We’ll be doing some testing prior to the Sears Point race,” Simo said. Donlavey is hoping to get the team’s road-course car ready to test at Virginia International Raceway before Sears.

FELLOWS HOPES CORVETTE TAKES REVENGE AT LE MANS

By: N.A. on March 20, 2001
Original Article: TORONTO STAR (CANADA)

Ron Fellows wants another shot at the competition he calls “the thing” and this time with a healthy Corvette C5-R.

But he’ll have to wait until June 16-17 when he crosses the pond to France for the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The “thing” is the U.S.-funded, British-built Saleen S7R, a newcomer to the American Le Mans series, which will also contest the event, after which the U.S. series run by Don Panoz is named.

The Saleen beat the Corvettes for the first time this season in the 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.) to capture the GTS class. A prototype Audi won the overall race.

While he concedes that the Saleen is “pretty fast,” Fellows doesn’t believe it belongs in the GTS class.

“But it’s there and so we have to figure out a way to beat it,” said the Mississauga native. “There’s nothing like a challenge.”

Fellows attempt to beat the Saleen at Sebring was hampered by a faulty starter motor which had to be changed twice during the race and cost the team 10 laps.

Fellows knows both he and the second Corvette, which finished second in the class at Sebring while Fellows was third, will have their work cut out for them at Le Mans.

“It’ll have a big advantage at Le Mans because it’s narrower and lower and it’s a proper race car,” he said. “It looks a lot like the Porsche GT1. It sure looked like it in my rearview mirror and following it, too.”

CYCLING FATALITY:
The auto racing world is mourning the death of champion driver Bob Wollek who was killed when he was struck while riding his bicycle near Sebring International Raceway last Friday.

He was in Sebring for the 24-hour endurance race on Saturday, which he won in 1985.

The 57-year-old native of Strasbourg, France, won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times and two class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year, he won five American Le Mans Series events.

Wollek was riding his bike near the track late in the afternoon when he was hit from behind by a car. The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

RETIREMENT SUPPORTED:
Readers of the U.S. racing publication AutoWeek 69 per cent in favour of NASCAR breaking with tradition and retiring the No. 3 of legendary Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt, who was killed in a crash during last month’s Daytona 500.

Even many among the 31 per cent opposed to retiring the number expressed the view that removing the number from view on the track would cause people to eventually forget Earnhardt’s contributions.

SUPER SUB:
Oakville’s Kenny Wilden, substituting for injured American driver Leighton Reese, finished a strong third in Trans-Am Series 100, a support event of the 12 Hours of Sebring, this past weekend.

Wilden, driving the Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, passed Johnny Miller’s Jaguar XKR on lap 26 to gain a spot on the podium behind winner Boris Said and runner-up Paul Gentilozzi.

CART GRADS:
Brazilian Tarso Marques, whose top finish in 17 CART races last year for Gerald Forsythe Racing was seventh in the final race of the 2000 season on the California Speedway super oval, finished 14th in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Two former CART champions, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Montoya, both failed to finish the race.

FORD-POWERED SALEEN S7R INTO PRODUCTION

By: LARRY ROBERTS on March 6, 2001
Original Article: www.theautochannel.com

Apparently the fortunes of Steve Saleen and his small Southern California car building company are getting better all the time. You might recall that Saleen is the sports car enthusiast-turned-builder who has made his mark in the automotive world as the producer of a line of “sporting” vehicles that have ranged from small trucks that raced in the old SCCA mini-truck road racing series to a line of sports cars that bear the Saleen name.

In truth, all the cars were modified Ford products, the most notable being the various Ford Mustangs that he customized until they were hardly recognizable. Some may dismiss this concept of modifying a currently produced vehicle from a large auto maker and attaching the modifiers own name and logo, but we need only point to the products of Shelby America. Carroll Shelby made his name and reputation on modifying British AC Ace roadster and Ford Mustangs and calling them Shelby Cobras and Shelby GT 350 coupes.

Steve Saleen has followed in the 35-year old footsteps of Carroll Shelby and has gone into production of Ford-powered exotic “supercars” of the same genre of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Lotus. The Saleen S7 was developed from a clean sheet of paper and unlike other Saleen products, uses only proprietary parts such as a Ford twin-cam engine.

But Saleen has also taken a page from Shelby’s book on automotive success and is producing a professional endurance racing sports-racer to compete in national and international events. To that end Saleen’s racing department, Saleen Allen Speedlab, has developed a racing version of its S7 exotic, the S7R, to be campaigned as a “production” car in the various classes in a plethora of sanctioning bodies. Originally the drivers for the factory team were to consist of the multi-national team of Tom Kendall, Oliver Gavin, Terry Borcheller and Ron Johnston driving a single car. The S7R is classed with cars such as the factory-entered Chevrolet Corvette C5R, recent winner of the Daytona 24 hour race, the all-conquering Oreca Dodge Vipers and a half-dozen other brands.

But now Saleen reports that he has contracted to build S7R race cars for so many independent teams that his own effort will have to be delayed. The first of these “privateers” is Paul Gentilozzi, two-time national champion in the SCCA Pro Racing Trans Am series. Gentilozzi drove his Rocketsport-entered S7R at the Rolex Daytona 24 Hour race and while his qualifying times were as good as any in the class, the car went out after 50 laps with undisclosed mechanical problems.

Saleen had planned to prove his S7R in competition and then sell five or six replicas to “privateers” after the 24 Hours of Le Mans race this coming June. But orders up front have taken precedence and his efforts will be concentrated on the orders at hand, some of which are planned to compete at Le Mans by their new owners.

And what could be sweeter for a race car builder than to have customers waiting in the wings to drive a yet unproven machine.

We’ll have to wait and see.

GENTILOZZT & ROCKETSPORTS TO RUN SALEEN S7R

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 www.saIeen.com.

THE NEWS

By: N.A. on December 4, 2000
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 50, ISSUE 51

DECEMBER 4, 2000

To misquote Shakespeare, all the world’s a rally and we’re putting you center stage. World Rally driver Richard Burns topped the competition in the Britain (apge 50) and Subaru is already dreaming about what it–and you– will do with its rally-inspired Impreza WRX (Headliner, page 9). Over at Pontiac, the REV is only a concept (Cover Story) but a powerful little all-wheel-driver that claims rally inspiration, too. The yearlong rally is over for our long-term Beetle (page 18), which ran stronger than we expected. Maserati won’t rally anything but its troops, to put a new Spider (below) at an auto show near you in the not-too-distant future.

Mysterious Maserati Spider
Maserati’s Spider will take center stage in the future model lineup and should serve Maserati well for its return to the North Ameri-can market in 2001. Insiders say the car now meets emission regulations of both the American and European markets.

Compared with the coupe version, the new Spider’s wheelbase is slightly shorter. The Spider reportedly will also get an all-new, highly tuned 4.0-liter V8 engine, a derivative of the Ferrari 360 Modena powerplant. With assistance from parent company Ferrari, during the next two years Maserati’s new V8 engine also will be adapted to the coupe and the next-generation Quattroporte sedan.

Company officials declined comment on reports the Spider will be launched at either the Detroit or Los
Angeles auto show.

First Viper GTS-R, now Saleen S7
The engineer responsible for turning the Dodge Viper concept into a production car and then into the Viper GTS-R racer is joining Saleen as chief engineering officer.

Neil Hannemann, whose 18-year career centered on ultra-high-performance street and competition vehicles first at Chrysler and then at DaimlerChrysler, will lead Saleen’s product development and certification programs, including work on the S7 supercar.

Pinto’s revenge?
Years after the federal government complained that Ford’s Pinto exploded on rear impact, the feds are proposing that cars and trucks be built to withstand a 50-mph rear-end collision with virtually no loss of fuel.

The proposed new rule comes more than five years after General Motors agreed to fund research in rear-crash testing to avoid a recall of its full-size pickups outfitted with sidesaddle fuel tanks. Critics contended the sidesaddle tanks contributed to fuel fires in crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administra-tion estimates the tougher standard could save up to 21 lives per year over the existing 30-mph rear-impact requirement. The agency says the regulation would add $5 to the cost of each vehicle. Industry lobbyists are still formulating their response to the proposal, but in the past they have advocated improved testing.
Car of the Year–Japanese-style

Honda Civic is the 21st Japanese Car of the Year, beating its direct rival Toyota Corolla, according to a poll of Japanese automotive journalists.

The Subaru Impreza WRX received the Car of the Year special award and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class received the Imported Car of the Year award. Cars built in Japan between Nov. 1, 1999, and Oct. 31, 2000, were eligible.

Obituary
Bill Devin, an automobile industry pioneer once referred to as “the Enzo Ferrari of Okie Flats,” died Nov. 22. He was 85.

Starting as a Chrysler-Plymouth dealer in Fontana, California, Devin moved up to exotic cars and eventually specialized in racing Ferraris. His dream of becoming a car builder materialized in 1954 with the fiberglass-bodied Devin-Panhard. He ultimately became the world’s largest producer of aftermarket fiberglass bodies in the 1950s. In 1958, he introduced the Devin SS, powered by a Corvette V8, and also produced the Porsche- or Volkswagen-powered Devin D and Corvair-powered Devin C.

LATE RACING NEWS

By: N.A. on November 13, 2000
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 50, ISSUE 47

SALEEN SIGNS GAVIN
Steve Saleen has signed Olivier Gavin to drive his GTS car in the American Le Mans Series next year. Gavin, a former Formula One test driver and British Formula 3 champion, will team with Terry Borcheller, Ron Johnson and Tom Kendall. Saleen skipped the Las Vegas race (AW, Nov. 6) to spend the weekend testing.

UAW SPONSORS NADEAU
The United Auto Workers union and Delphi Automotive will be the primary sponsors on Rick Hendrick’s Winston Cup car next year (driven by Jerry Nadeau), replacing Michael Holigan Homes. Word is Holigan wants to start his own team.

NEW RILEY & SCOTT TRANS-AM CAR
Riley & Scott will introduce a redesigned Trans-Am chassis, the Mk VIII, for the 2001 season. The new model will hit the track mid-season. Design changes include revised suspension for quicker adjustments and a stronger structure. R&S said the chassis is designed to fit all Trans-Am-eligible bodies.

McLAREN DUMPS F3000 TEAM
There will be no West McLaren-Mercedes “junior” team in the 2001 FIA Formula 3000 series. Established in 1998, West Competition ran Nick Heidfeld, a protege of Mercedes-Benz, to the runner-up slot the first year. The German won the title in 1999, and in 2000 moved on to the Prost F1 team. No official reason for the pullout was given, but team manager David Brown had already told his bosses he was leaving to join the Jordan Grand Prix team.

BIFFLE MOVES UP
Roush Racing will move Craftsman Truck Series champion Greg Biffle to the Busch Series in 2001 and promote CTS runner-up Kurt Busch to Winston Cup. Roush also is trying to broker a business partnership with former baseball star Hank Aaron. The reason: He hopes to find a qualified minority driver for one of NASCAR’s lower divisions in 2001.

TOYOTA GETS SERIOUS
Toyota is getting serious about its NASCAR Goody’s Dash program. The Japanese auto-maker has landed two-time series champ Robert Huffman to drive a Celica in 2001.

TOYO IS NEW SPEC TIRE
The Speedvision World Challenge and Toyo Tires have announced the Toyo Proxes T1-S will be the spec tire beginning with the 2001 Speedvision GT and Touring Car seasons.

SALEEN/ALLEN SPEEDLAB SIGNS OLIVER GAVIN

Saleen S7R Bypasses Las Vegas Race for Testing

BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct. 27, 2000 – Saleen/Allen Speedlab, five-time ETD Champion in sports car racing, announced today at the Birmingham Auto Show that Oliver Gavin, former Formula One test driver and British Formula 3 Champion, would be joining the team for the 2001 American Le Lemans Series (ALMS). Gavin will compete with 2000 Grand-A111 GTE) Co-Champions Terry Borcheller and Ron Johnson, as well as Tommy Kendall, the winningest sports car driver of all time, in the entire ALMS season. In addition, the Speedlab team will contest the classic endurance races at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Like most young professional racers, Oliver Gavin has driven many different cars in many different series in his career, but few have had Olly’s success!

Early in his career, Gavin received the prestigious McLaren Autosport “Young Driver of the Year” award from the late Ayrton Senna for winning 11 out of 12 races and the National Formula First Championship in 1991.

The following year, Gavin was the runner up in 1992 British Vauxhall Lotus Championship with three wins and two fastest laps for the John Village Automotive Tearn. In 1993, Gavin moved up to the British Formula 3 Championship where he was again runner up with Edenbridge Racing winning five races with two poles and five fastest laps.

After competing in the FIA Formula 3000 and Formula 3 Championships in 1994, Gavin finally broke through in 1995 with a. dominating season in the British Formula 3 Championship. Gavin was the British Formula 3 Champion with six victories, three poles and five fastest laps.

For the next several years, Gavin participated in numerous series, including the 1995 FIA International Touring Car Championship with Opel Team Joest; the Porsche Cup from 1993-1999; and Formula One testing for McLaren and Benetton from 1997 through the 2000 season. He was also the Formula 1 Grand Prix safety car driver for the FIA from 1997 through 1999 and a commentator for Radio Le Mans twice.

This past year, Gavin competed in the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Championship, driving Intersports Racing’s Lola Judd V10 in five races, including a second-place finish in the Grand-Am finale at Watkins Glen. Amazingly, he set the fastest lap in every session of the last two Grand-Am races drawing the attention of Saleen/Allen Speedlab’s principal, Steve Saleen.

“We were really impressed with Oliver’s speed at Trois-Rivieres and the Glen,” commented Saleen. “Our European sources confirmed Olly’s credentials and once we interviewed him we knew we had the perfect complement to our current Speedlab drivers.”

When not driving a new racecar, the 23-year-old Gavin enjoys personal fitness, mountain biking and most sports. He resides in Northamptonshire with his wife, Helen, and daughter, Lily.

Across the pond, the Speedlab opted to bypass the ALMS race at Las Vegas this weekend and, instead, spend the week testing. “We accomplished our goal of benchmarking the S7R last weekend at Laguna Seca,” stated Speedlab Team Director, Daryl Cozens. “Now we need more time to test the various racing components so that we’re well prepared for next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the entire ALMS season. We’ll be at Las Vegas, but not until the SEMA Show next week (Oct. 31 – Nov. 3) where we will have both the Saleen S7 supercar (Pirelli Booth #3804) and the S7R racecar (ALMS Booth #12660) on display.”

Saleen/Allen Speedlab is sponsored by the Automotive Refinish and CE Coatings & Colorants divisions of BASF, Dura Automotive Systems, Hidden Creek Industries, Pirelli Tire North America, Tim Allen’s Signature Tools and Borla Performance Industries-

SALEEN LAUNCHES S7R

By: N.A. on October 16, 2000
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 50, ISSUE 43

Fulfilling the promise of its appearance, Steve Saleen’s new S7 street supercar (AW, Sept. 25) is also going to come as a racer. Dubbed the S7R, the competition version will debut before the season ends Dec. 31 in Australia.

The 600-hp, mid-engined, space-framed Saleen S7R will run against the GTS Corvettes and Vipers. Obviously it meets ACO rules for Le Mans and the new European Le Mans series, and Saleen says it also has been green-lighted for Grand-Am’s GTO. He anticipates approval for the FIA, British and Spanish GT championships, “and a few others worldwide.”

Following single-car shakedown races at Laguna and Las Vegas, the factory’s Saleen-Allen team plans to campaign two cars for the entire 2001 ALMS season, plus the Daytona and Le Mans 24-hour enduros. Three drivers have been named so far: two-time SCCA Trans-Am champ Tom Kendall joins Terry Borcheller and Ron Johnson, winners of this year’s GTO title for Saleen-Allen. Kendall hasn’t raced regularly since 1997.

Several private teams already have placed orders. Priced at $425,000, a mere fifty grand up on the street model, SR7s will be constructed both in England and at a new facility in Irvine, California.