Saleen Seeks ALMS Win On Anniversary of S7R Debut Race MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2001) -- The American Le Mans Series visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for its annual stop on Sunday, September 9, and the race will take on extra meaning for the...
Saleen Seeks ALMS Win On Anniversary of S7R Debut Race
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2001) -- The American Le Mans Series visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for its annual stop on Sunday, September 9, and the race will take on extra meaning for the people involved with the Saleen team in the GTS class.
It was at last year's ALMS race at the picturesque California racing facility that the Saleen S7R made its competition debut. The car performed admirably, even though it did not win, and engineers spent the rest of the year testing and refining the car for its 2001 campaign.
With American Terry Borcheller joined by German Franz Konrad and Brit Oliver Gavin at the wheel, the BASF Saleen scored a convincing victory in the ALMS 12 Hours at Sebring in March. Since then, the car has not returned to victory lane, though Borcheller has been fast qualifier in three out of the last four races, and has also set the fastest race lap in five straight events.
The Konrad Motorsport Team Saleen effort comes to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca looking to end the four-race winning streak in the GTS class of Corvette Racing drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, as well as to keep Borcheller and Konrad in contention for the ALMS driver's championship.
"We're pleased with our recent progress," said Borcheller, who lives in Phoenix. "The car is the real thing. We just need to continue to improve as a team and we'll get back to the top rung of the ladder before the season's over."
A high-performance vehicle manufacturer for 18 years, California-based Saleen introduced the S7, the first true American supercar, in August of last year, then raced it shortly after. The Saleen S7R's seven-liter racing V8 generates 600 horsepower, and the car's extreme ground effects and pleasing racing lines make it a crowd favorite everywhere the ALMS races.
Fellows and O'Connell realize that their GTS-class rival will get harder and harder to beat. "The Saleen is a handful," said Fellows.
"That car was laying down some laps at Mid-Ohio," said O'Connell of the most recent ALMS race. "When they get their act totally together, look out."
The Monterey Sports Car Championships, presented by Mazda, will be highlighted by a two-hour, 45-minute race for the American Le Mans Series on Sunday, Sept. 9. The race will start at 12 noon and will be televised live in the US by NBC Sports. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Also part of the weekend will be a 125-mile race on Saturday, Sept. 8, for America's oldest road racing series, the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup. The Trans-Am event will start at just before 2 p.m. and will be followed by American Le Mans Series qualifying.
A new attraction at this year's event will be the Historic IMSA GTP Series, operated by Historic Sportscar Racing. Some of the greatest racing vehicles of the past will live and race again in a one-hour event that will be held at 9 a.m. on Sunday. More than 30 cars are expected to compete, including several Porsche 962 Prototypes that dominated sports car racing in the 1980's and early 1990's. The entry list also includes Nissan, Chevrolet Spice, Lola, March and Jaguar machines, among others.
Also part of the weekend will be races for the popular and competitive SPEEDVISION World Challenge GT and Touring Car series, as well as the open-wheel Star Mazda Series.
Race fans will have the opportunity to see all of the race cars up close in the raceway's open paddock, and American Le Mans Series drivers will hold a one-hour autograph session beginning at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday.
Ticket information for the Monterey Sports Car Championships weekend is available online at www.laguna-seca.com or by calling 1-800-327-7322. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is located on Highway 68 between Monterey and Salinas, Calif.