The Saleen marque is returning to GT racing with the introduction of a new single-make series showcasing the company’s new mid-engined sports car.
California-based Saleen Automotive, led by high-performance vehicle pioneer Steve Saleen, will host the Saleen Cup — a five-event, “arrive-and-drive” series designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the recently announced Saleen 1 sports car.
The Saleen Cup, which was announced today at Circuit of The Americas, is being presented via a partnership with SRO Motorsports Group, and will run concurrently with the Blancpain GT World Challenge America. The five events will be supported by 20 track-ready cars maintained, prepped and transported to race venues by Saleen, offering prospective drivers and enthusiasts a turnkey racing opportunity along with a chance to win a factory seat in Saleen’s GT4 entry throughout the 2020 season.
“I am very pleased to welcome the Saleen 1 Cup Series to the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule for the 2019 season.,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. “The Saleen name is instantly recognizable to every race fan and I have fond memories of the wonderful S7-R competing in the FIA GT Championship more than a decade ago. The new Saleen 1 is an exciting new project for the brand and the “arrive-and-drive” concept is the ideal way to showcase it at some of the most iconic circuits in the United States. I look forward to the inaugural event at Sonoma Raceway in June.”
“The Saleen Cup is the next chapter in our company’s return to motorsports,” said Steve Saleen, CEO and founder of Saleen Automotive. “Racing is in the DNA of everything we do at Saleen. The technology and design of the new Saleen 1 model is a direct result of extensive track-testing and development, so it’s only natural that the new model makes its debut on some of the most iconic racetracks in America.”
“Racing one of our cars on these legendary tracks will change your life – not to mention the way you look at driving – forever,” added Saleen. “The Saleen Cup Series gives racers and mainstream enthusiasts this unforgettable experience and serves as the ultimate proving ground for the Saleen 1.”
Gabriele Cadringher recently joined Saleen as director of motorsports and will lead the Saleen Cup. The former technical director and consultant for FIA and Grand Am will use the five-race events to further hone the track capabilities of the Saleen 1.
Uniquely, the Saleen Cup is open to standard “D” licensed drivers, and offers a distinct professional-level racing experience, in which each car is equally prepared and maintained in-house, including back-up cars, plus transported to each race event. The Saleen Cup also features two racer teams, which can split the cost for participants and offer more affordable racing opportunities. At the conclusion of the five-race series, category champions in the Saleen Cup will secure a factory seat driving in Saleen’s GT4 entry for the entire 2020 season.
The Saleen Cup will consist of five events scheduled for the second half of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America season, starting at Sonoma in June. The full schedule is as follows:
⦁ Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif., June 7-9
⦁ Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore., July 12-14
⦁ Watkins Glen, N.Y., August 30-Sept.1
⦁ Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis., Sept. 20-22
⦁ Grand Finale, Las Vegas, Nev., Oct 18-20
The Saleen 1 model was recently unveiled by Corona, Calif.-based Saleen Automotive. Featuring innovative chassis design and performance influenced by Saleen’s S7 supercar, Saleen 1 is powered by a 450hp turbocharged 2.2-liter engine.
For more information on the Saleen Cup, visit www.SaleenCup.com.