Testing Round Up – ACEMCO Saleen
Following on from yesterday’s quick run down of the
three teams testing Pirellis at Sebring this week, Russell Wittenberg
follows up with a more detailed look at the ACEMCO Saleen(s). Risi
and Hyper Sport detail to follow.
The two brand new S7-Rs arrived at the track on Sunday. The build
quality and appearance are absolutely first class. These two are
the first ‘race cars’ to actually be built by Saleen
at their facility at Irvine in California. The first generation
of race cars were of course built by RML, in England. All improvements,
updates etc. have been built into these cars.
The team is
very optimistic about the times being set so early in the cars’
development, as they are really just being shaken down. For instance
the gearing is way too high for this track, and the the shift cut
is not activated. No real setup work had been done (by Wednesday):
the drivers were just starting to get comfortable in the car. The
car in use so far is running a first generation motor and they expect
to be on the third (much improved) by Sebring. They have OZ wheels
about to forge a new, custom set of wheels for the car which will
be 10% lighter, and they’re expecting continued progress with
the Pirelli tires by March. Another test with Pirelli is scheduled
for the end of February.
Team owner Jeff
Giangrande: “We are looking forward to competing against the
Corvette: sort of a David and Goliath situation. We really hope
Fredrick Dor or someone runs the Prodrive cars again. Moving up
to GTS with the Saleen was definitely the right choice for us. Saleen
has been wonderful so far. We are getting their full support, they
have three engineers helping us here this week.”
The teams are sharing the track with the Panoz Racing School, so
there is no set schedule and they have fit in time between the school
sessions. They have been getting about five 30 minute sessions in
until 4.00pm, and then it is theirs until 6:00pm.
Risi and ACEMCO are set up in the south paddock, between turn 1
and the start of the back straight. They do not use the pits or
pitlane at all. They prefer this set up because they can come in
hot off the front straight, right up to their respective trailers,
and get a check of the tires before they start to cool down. The
only incident was a puncture into turn one that got Jeff Giangrande’s
attention, because Terry Borcheller was all the way into the grass
before he was able to control it. No damage.
Jim Bell is
present, seen here talking with Johnny Mowlem.