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  Saleen S7-R

  Article Image gallery (221) 060R Specifications User Comments (2)  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced from:2006 - 2007
Numbers built:15
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 14, 2006
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAt the 2000 Monterey Historic Races, Steve Saleen revealed the Saleen S7 supercar. Best known for modifying and racing Ford products, the S7 was the first purpose built machine created by Saleen. Considering the company's competition heritage, it was hardly surprising that the race ready S7-R followed just a few months later. In fact, the future competition use was engineered into the production road car. Both the road and racing cars were developed together with British specialists Ray Mallock ltd. (RML).

Carried over from the road car was the steel spaceframe chassis, which consisted of three sections that were bolted together and allowed for relatively easy damage repair. Some of the aluminium honeycomb carbon fibre composite body panels formed part of the structure. Like the road car, a Ford-based V8 engine was fitted. Various configurations were tried by RML to find out which worked best with the mandatory intake restrictors. The rumbling engine was mated to a six-speed gearbox.

Underlining the two machines were developed side-by-side, the first S7-R debuted at Laguna Seca just two months after the road car broke cover. Following a difficult debut late in 2000, the first GTS class win was scored early in 2001 at Homestead and then a Franz Konrad entered example won its class in the Sebring 12 Hours. It was the start of a hugely successful season for the S7-R, which was also raced at Le Mans and the car fielded by RML won the class championships in the European Le Mans Series, scoring wins in all but one of the races.

During the next few years, the S7-Rs were continued to be raced on both sides of the Atlantic but gradually lost the edge. This prompted Saleen to commission French specialists Oreca to create a second generation S7-Rs in around 2005. Subtle changes to the aerodynamics and running gear resulted in better results. In total over a dozen S7-Rs were built by both RML and Oreca, and they were raced competitively through to the 2010 season when the car's homologation expired after a very successful decade of racing.

Developed and built by small specialists and to a limited budget, the S7-Rs were often able to challenge the much better funded factory efforts from the likes of Corvette, Aston Martin and Maserati. The striking Saleen remains as one of the absolute GT-racing stars of the 2000s.

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  Article Image gallery (221) 060R Specifications User Comments (2)