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  • The first S7-R to compete, and certainly one of the very best in terms of history and track record

  • A rich career in ALMS, Grand-Am, FIA GT and LMES

  • One entry in the 24 Hours of Spa - Qualified in P2

  • Two entries in the 12 Hours of Sebring

  • Three entries in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans

  • Podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001

  • Three FIA GT wins over Ferrari 550 and Maserati MC12

  • Iconic "Vitaphone" livery

  • 2004 FIA GT1 specification, highly competitive in Endurance Racing Legends and Le Mans Classic.

  • A GT1 eligible for Masters Endurance Legends, Daytona Classic, Sebring Classic, Gulf Historic, Endurance Racing Legends & Le Mans Classic














S7-R GT1


2001 Evolved in 2004 GT1 specs

Chassis number




Ford 7 liters - V8


620 HP. @ 7000 RPM


6 sequential speeds - XTRAC


1150 kg


At the end of the 1990s, after the wave of radical factory GT1s (Porsche 911 GT1, Mercedes CLK GTR and Toyota GT-One), the revolution in Grand Touring began in the United States. The fully developed Viper GTS-R had already scored a number of successes thanks to Hugues de Chaunac and the talent of his Oreca team. General Motors had launched the promising C5-R, the first Corvette officially developed and entered by GM (chassis C5R 02 is available for sale). And then, in a corner of California, there were ambitions to enter this battle. Why not shake up the established order?  In the summer of 1999, Steve Saleen launched a supercar project that he wanted to develop both for the road and for competition. By December, the outlines of the project were in place. Seven months later, the car was running in competition. The Saleen S7R chassis 002R was the very first Saleen designed entirely by the American marque to take to the track. Its career spanned five seasons, with three appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Saleen: from Ford prep to supercar production

Founded in 1983, the Saleen brand (Saleen Autosport in its early days) first built its legend by preparing Ford Mustangs and entering models for GT racing in the United States. 

Modifying production cars and developing its own parts and kits, Saleen built a solid reputation as a tuner in North America. Saleen launched its own parts division, Saleen Performance Parts, and produced an increasing number of "transformed" models. Until the desire arose to create a car of its own.

The S7R is derived from the S7 road car

By 1999, Saleen was thinking bigger. It wanted to become a full-fledged sports car manufacturer in addition to its high performance parts business, but it didn't want to do things by halves. In the summer of 1999, the California-based company launched the 'Molly' project, the codename for Saleen's first supercar (named after Steve Saleen's daughter). 12 months later came the S7, the racing version of which would be called the S7R. 


A crack team was assembled to bring the project to fruition.

The S7 was co-developed by :

- Steve Saleen for the initial concept, steering and engine;

- Ray Mallock (RML) for chassis, suspension and aerodynamics; 

- Phil Frank (PFD) for body design and development.

RML developed a tubular steel chassis with riveted honeycomb aluminium panels for reinforcement. These tubes form the floor, firewall and front protection box. Mallock also designed the suspension, using steel tubes to form independent upper and lower arms. These are attached to the chassis by aluminium plates designed to shear on impact to isolate the chassis from impact energy.

RML used scale models tested in the wind tunnel at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, to guide the air under the car. According to the S7 launch press release, the production car could generate downforce equivalent to its weight at speeds in excess of 250 km/h. 

The car's design is the work of Phil Frank, an industrial designer and frequent Saleen collaborator. All air intakes have been designed to be functional, either for cooling or to reduce drag. 

As for the engine, while largely inspired by the Ford Windsor V8, it was extensively modified by Saleen and developed by Bill Tally. Based on the Ford architecture, Saleen reworked the all-aluminium 7-litre engine with cam block to produce 600bhp at 6,400rpm. The redline is at 7000 rpm. The engine delivers 750 Nm of torque at 5400 rpm. Space-qualified materials and techniques are used throughout: magnesium throttle bodies and intake manifolds, carbon fibre induction system, titanium valves and supports, beryllium exhaust valve seats, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust system and Saleen CNC-machined all-aluminium cylinder heads.

A unique Saleen engine accessory drive (FEAD) system results in an extremely compact engine that improves overall weight distribution.  The engine features a unique Saleen-designed side-mounted water pump, high-precision belt drive for the camshaft and a Saleen-designed dry sump oil system.

An American with a European design...

At first glance, there's no doubt that this is a supercar. There are hints of the McLaren F1 GTR, a profile reminiscent of the XJ220, and the fluidity and bestiality of the Ferrari F40 and F50 that inspired the overall concept. An American car with 'European' styling, in stark contrast to the Viper GTS-R and Corvette. 

The whole project was driven by the desire to make the S7 a car capable of competing at the highest level, in particular winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in GT. It was in 1997 that Steve Saleen admits to having had the idea. He was next door to the McLaren pits with his Mustangs. Aware that he had already pushed the development of his Fords and could not go any further, he saw the McLarens as an inspiration. Steve Saleen wanted to develop his supercar in his own way.

... and finally built in England!

The first models were assembled in England at RML before production was moved to California for the Saleen S7R Evo in 2003. This was logical, as Saleen also had to manage the production of Ford GTs (3,000 units in total) locally, having won the contract to manage the brand's supercar. 

From 2006, a partnership was signed with Oreca for the French company to run the S7Rs, which led to a series of successes... until 2010, when a Saleen won the last race in which GT1 cars could compete, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The S7Rs made their mark over a decade, battling it out with the Viper GTS-R, Corvette C5-R, C6-R, Maserati MC12, Ferrari 550 Maranello and Ford GT Matech! 


Chassis S7-01-002R, now for sale by Ascott Collection, was the very first to be entered in the competition. Used by Saleen/Allen Speedlab at Laguna Seca in late 2000, the car went on to compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA GT Championship. The chassis achieved a number of podium finishes, particularly in the FIA GT Championship where it competed against the Ferrari and Maserati GT1s.

2000, the 002R's debut against the Corvette and Viper giants

The road-going S7 was unveiled on 19 August 2000. Steve Saleen confirmed his intention to enter a car in the final round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Laguna Seca. Although the car (002R) was present and finished a respectable 26th, it would be its only appearance in 2000.

Behind the scenes, the chassis was being assembled. The interest of several teams was real and orders were numerous. The S7R was offered new and ready to race for $475,000. 

Saleen, Inc. kept the technical departments of the ALMS, ACO, FIA and Grand-Am informed of the supercar's development throughout 2000 so that the race car could be homologated quickly. On several occasions, Steve Saleen came to Le Mans to meet with the officials. It was this proximity to the officials and the rapid homologation of the car that explained the success of his orders from the outset.


Podium at the first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001

In early February 2001, after the 24 Hours of Daytona, Steve Saleen explained: "We had originally planned to demonstrate the car's potential during the 2001 season and then hoped to sell five or six cars for 2002. But to have five Saleen S7Rs competing in the ALMS, ELMS, Grand-Am and Spanish GT championships, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is incredible. Unfortunately, with demand outstripping supply until mid-season, this means that Saleen/Allen Speedlab will have to wait until Le Mans to field its own team. In the meantime, we'll be racing through the coordinated efforts of our Saleen drivers and race engineers seconded to our customers. 

This explains why the 'official' 002R chassis competed in the 2001 Daytona 24 Hours, but was not seen again until the Le Mans 24 Hours preseason. Carrying the number 60, 002R was one of two official cars, the other being the Konrad Motorsport team's 61 S7R (chassis 003R), which wore the same black, white and yellow livery. As a small detail to differentiate the cars, the #60 had additional headlights in the bodywork at the front. 

After 24 hours of hard work, the car finished third in the GTS! A fine podium finish for a first appearance at Le Mans.

Victory at Laguna Seca

After this foray into France, 002R's main focus was the USA. Although the season was dominated by the official Corvette team in GTS, the Saleens shone and Terry Borcheller even managed to take the drivers' title from Ron Fellows. The only races that eluded Corvette were Sebring and Laguna Sec. The latter was won by 002R, its first ever victory. 

2002 was another American campaign. Corvette again dominated, but the Konrad Motorsport team again finished just behind...

Victory at Watkins Glen 

The 002R suffered several retirements due to engine problems in the ALMS, but still managed to win the Watkins Glen 250 Miles in the Rolex Sports Car Series.

Tough rules for the Saleen S7R at the 2002 Le Mans 24 Hours

At Le Mans, Saleens had to contend with smaller flanges and extra weight. The ACO has increased the minimum number of road cars to be produced (12 in GTS). And because Saleen did not meet this minimum, the ACO imposed penalties: 15% less flange diameter and 70 kg more weight. More precisely, the penalties were 5% and 30 kg for the number of cars, 5% and 20 kg for failing to submit 'low volume' homologation forms for small manufacturers, and finally 5% and 20 kg for building too many race cars in relation to total production (the ceiling was set at 25%). 26th place in the final standings, well behind the Corvette and Viper, but a logical result given these penalties. 

Nonetheless, the Saleen scored victories

In 2002, Saleen S7R customer teams competed in four series (ALMS, Grand Am, British GT and Spanish GT), winning 18 of 40 races and three drivers' championships. The S7Rs also earned 21 pole positions and 23 fastest laps.


2003 saw the move to FIA GT. A much more favourable configuration for Saleen

In 2003, the 002R competed in the two big early-season races in the United States, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, before Konrad Motorsport decided to use the chassis in FIA GT. A new life began for the Saleen, which was forced to abandon its transverse gearbox in favour of a longitudinal version supplied by X-Trac.

Several pole positions and a victory

It was this gearbox that caused problems at the beginning of the season due to its fragility. However, under the guidance of the Swiss Toni Seiler, the boss himself Franz Konrad and Jean-Marc Gounon (in the early part of the season), then Walter Lechner and even Eric van de Poele at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the S7R made progress. Now sporting an all-yellow livery, the 002R took a podium finish at the Anderstorp race. Several pole positions were also achieved. 

At the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, pole position wasn't far away. Walter Lechner Jr. managed to break through the 100% Ferrari front row of 550 Maranello cars. In a time of 2'16''654, at an average speed of over 183 km/h, he got between the 550s of the BMS team. Unfortunately, the number 2 car was not in the lead until the end of the first hour of the race. On Sunday, it was a 'small' GT, a 911 type 991 GT3 RS in the GT category, that took the win. 

At Le Mans, a gearbox problem prevented the Saleen from finishing. 


2004: Three wins over Ferrari 550 Maranello and Maserati MC12
2004 was a double season for the 002R: FIA GT and Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). 

In the Le Mans Endurance Series, the new championship created by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the 002R chassis took part in all four races. But it was in FIA GT that the best results were achieved, with three victories!

Victories secured by the Vitaphone Racing team, with Konrad Motorsport actually running the car. 

The 002R is now driven by Michael Bartels and Uwe Alzen. Bartels had previously raced in F3000 and DTM, while Uwe Alzen was known for his years in the Porsche Supercup, as well as driving the 911 GT1-98 for Porsche. Despite a lack of reliability (7 retirements, including the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps), the S7-R proved to be very fast in their hands, with three wins at Magny-Cours, Brno and, above all, Imola.


Imola victory over Ferrari and Maserati

Indeed, the Imola victory over the Maranello 550 left a lasting impression. At Magny-Cours, the Saleen gave hope that the championship would not be dominated by a single brand. Finishing the three-hour race thirty seconds ahead of runners-up Bobbi and Gardel in the #1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello, they showed that the Saleen would be a serious contender.

At Brno, dominating the race from the start, the Vitaphone Racing Team's #5 Saleen S7 took its second win after losing a wheel in the final hours... a bit of luck and talent for another success. The battle between BMS Scuderia and Vitaphone was fierce.

The last victory of the season at Imola remains legendary and above all symbolic. On that day, the 002R won ahead of the brand new Maserati MC12s, the 550 GTSs of Care Racing and BMS Scuderia, and the 575 GTCs of GPC and JMB. Luca di Montezemolo made the trip, but could only witness the superiority of the American supercar! In the presence of Steve Saleen, the private Vitaphone Racing team scored a memorable victory on the Ferrari circuit. In front of the Italian press and numerous VIPs invited by Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, the robbery was perfect! With its Ford block and German drivers, the black and green S7R was the only car to beat the 550 Maranello and MC12 that year!

In 2005, the Vitaphone team would switch to Maserati MC12s... perhaps thanks in part to this dominant victory. Konrad Motorsport, for its part, continued to run 002Rs. No notable successes before retiring in 2006 with two final appearances.


Bought directly from Franz Konrad and used in historic races.

This fabulous GT1 was acquired by its current owner in 2020 directly from Franz Konrad, who had carefully preserved one of the finest Saleen S7Rs ever produced, given its long track record in the world's most prestigious races. It has been restored to its 2004 configuration by JMB Classic, and on that occasion it was given back its now iconic Vitaphone livery. In fact, the 2004 FIA GT specification is the configuration in which this GT1 performed best throughout the 2001-2010 period. By the end of the decade, GT1s were heavily penalised by the regulations, gaining a lot of weight and losing dozens of horsepower as their restrictors were reduced.

We are therefore offering for sale a highly competitive GT1 that beat the Ferrari 550 Prodrive, Ferrari 575 and Maserati MC12 in its time and is eligible for Endurance Racing Legends and Le Mans Classic at a fraction of the price of its direct rivals. This Saleen is also eligible for Masters Endurance Legends, Dubai GP Revival and all the historic races in the USA from Daytona Classic to Monterrey. It is both a very fast car for winning historic races and, like most GT1s with a significant track record, a highly collectible car.

Period photo credit: John Brooks

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