Saleen launched its GT4 race car in Vegas on October 17, 2019. But here is the deep dive on the car, comparing it to its Saleen Cup Car variant and upcoming street driven cousin.
Speaking to Steve Saleen himself, he compared and contrasted what this new racecar offers.
The engine is Saleen’s own designed 2.2L inline 4 cylinder with a single turbocharger making 450 horsepower. It is the same unit that has powered the Saleen Cup Cars (Cup).
According to Saleen it’s a motor that has been pretty durable in competition, “Now that we have some miles under it, we are seeing the performance out of the car. We’ve now run a lot of cars, and cumulatively, we’ve had no engine problems; no overheating—none of the teething problems [associated with a new engine]—It’s showing that the base aspect of the motor is really very stout, and at the same time the sound that the car is making is very unique.”
We’re anticipating that the overall weight of the car will be between 2800-2850 pounds.
The engine’s Motec ECU and tuning are also carried over from the Cup Car since it allows easy adoption and is universal for racers and crew chiefs to adjust, fine-tune, and download racing and vehicle data.
The Brakes are changed. Saleen used the same base design from the Cup, but because GT4 rules allow for ABS, the new GT4 can be tuned for the individual driver and racetrack to offer even greater braking performance than the Cup or the streetcar.
The rear wing is different, as Saleen says, “the wing is similar to [the Cup Car]; however, there will be a couple of options that the individual teams can have [to add] a little bit more tuning on the rear wing depending on the type of track that they want to run.”
“Steering ratio is the same as the Cup, pick up points on the shock absorbers and the suspension pieces are all the same”, he says, however, the Öhlin’s dampers with Saleen custom valving, offers more fine-tuning in the GT4 racecar.
The final weight of the GT4 has yet to be determined because of the balance of performance, as he puts it, “There will be a balance of performance that we go through on the restriction that we have to run on the engine versus the weight of the car, but we’re anticipating that the overall weight of the car will be between 2800-2850 pounds.”
Still, the GT4 offers something that most of its competition will not have, a way to tune the weight via the use of a ballast. “One of the things that will be an attraction is that you can actually ballast the car too, so that you can actually go from track to track, overall, with a ballast,” comments Saleen.
With Saleen Automotive Inc. manufacturing their Mustang variant S302, and their Ford F150 based Saleen Trucks, the S1 is their new exotic. So how should owners of other Saleen’s view the new car? Is it a halo that all other Saleens should aspire to?
The one thing that I will guarantee you is: whoever purchases it, they will be the winner of the championship in the series.
As Saleen puts it, it’s a new way of encapsulating racing and innovation, “We build performance cars; racing is a part of our DNA. With the S1 we recognized a very unique market. We feel that the car is in supercar territory. We compete against Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, but the price point that we’re able to offer the streetcar and the level of performance for it is not as expensive as our other exotic friends, so I feel that we have been able to develop a whole new category of supercars or exotic cars.”
The Saleen S1 GT4 car will be priced at $225,00 and will compete in the Blancpain/SRO World GT4 Championship.
Although it has yet to race, Saleen made a big promise to future owners: “It’s not the most expensive and it’s not the least expensive; however, the one thing I will guarantee you is: whoever purchases it, they will be the winner of the championship in the series.”