Tag Archives: Motorsports

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.

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[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]

SCALE REPLICA OF STEVE SALEEN’S MARCH 88C CART RACER

From our friend’s at Open Wheel Racing Modeling.

Saleen Autosport MARCH 88/C
Saleen Autosport MARCH 88/C

Hi everybody, this is a car I started 20+ years ago and put it up while life happened. I just finished it. The starting point is the AMT Kraco car. I made the decals on a office copier, and from the Kraco sheet. The road wings are cut down monogram with .010 sheet styrene end plates.

[Source: Open Wheel Racing Modeling]

SALEEN COMPETITION REUNION, SAAC-41

From our friend Jim Pennington.

Video: Saleen R Cars

Click here to participate in the discussion.

[Source: Jim Pennington]

RACE READY S281 (97-0217) HITs eBay

Price: BID
VIN: 1FALP42X8VF189632
Condition: Used
Vehicle Title: No Title / Bill of Sale
Year: 1997
Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Engine: 4.6 Liter
Number of Cylinders: 8
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive Type: RWD
Mileage: 0
Body Type: Coupe
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black
For Sale By: Private Seller
eBay #: 191880546296

97-0217 S281
97-0217 S281

1997 Ford Mustang Saleen S281 number #217 This is a real Saleen that came out of CA. in 2005 it was built by Steve Marshall to SCCA Sedan Specs, This is a real Saleen that is basically stock with a full roll cage, with Saleens racecraft suspension. It has 13″ brakes on front (Saleen) 3:55 gears, X pipe and off road exhaust, 281 over head cam engine (285 HP with Saleen upgrades) It is not street legal. It has run at Laguna Seca CA in the Shelby open track events and has run at Most race tracks in the southeast of NASA since 2005. I bought it in June of 2005 and went racing with N.A.S.A. Mr. Barwick is the owner and had ran the Saleen in time trials after getting his license. The last time it was ran was at the 50th Mustang show at Charlotte NC. It is super dependable, awesome to drive and has never been in any incidents. Seat belts are out of date, tires are still great, just changed the oil and brake fluid. I installed new brake pads on front and rear and has only two open track events on them. Handles great!! call me with any questions Bob Oswalt 803-532-1011

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REAR VIEW: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE 1989 ESCORT ENDURANCE SERIES

From our friend Jim Pennington.

Here are a few of my racing photos in 1989. I was working for Saleen at that time.

Saleen Autosport 1989 Endurance Series
Saleen Autosport 1989 Endurance Series

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[Source: Jim Pennington]