Former open-wheel racer, Steve Saleen, formed Saleen Automotive in 1983. Initially, the company’s focus was on modifying and selling performance parts for Ford Mustangs. In 2000, Saleen introduced the Saleen S7 supercar. Unlike his other creations, this mid-engine vehicle was not based on an existing platform. The S7-R racing version proved to be very successful. In 2001, Konrad Team Saleen was able to win the American Le Man Series GTS driver’s title for Terry Borcheller and the following season teams using the car won the Grand-Am, British GT and Spanish GT championships.

Saleen Automotive’s latest creation is the Saleen S1 which debuted in 2018. This car is powered by a rear-mounted 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine which produces 450-horsepower. The carbon fiber body sits 4130 chromoly chassis. Stopping the S1 are fifteen-inch diameter rotors on the front with six-piston calipers and on the rear are four-piston calipers with fourteen-inch rotors.

In 2019, the Saleen Cup was launched using the new S1. The arrive and drive program ($42,000 per weekend or $168,000 per season) runs as a support event for the Blancpain GT World Challenge America championship. Each race weekend includes two fifty-minute races with a mandatory pit-stop in the middle of the contest. There are four events this year: Portland International Raceway, Watkins Glen International, Road America and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

There are also two classes for drivers:

  • Young Drivers (YD) –competitors up to 28-years of age.
  • Pro-Am (PA) – those individuals older than 28-years of age.

The series champion in each category will secure a paid seat in Saleen’s GT4 entry for the 2020 season.

Rounds five and six of the Saleen Cup were scheduled for the fourteen-turn 4.048-mile road course at Road America. Inclement weather on Sunday forced series official to cancel the weekend’s second race.

Thirteen Saleen Cup competitors prepare to exit Road America’s final and head onto the front straight for the Starter’s flag. On the pole is a two-time TA2 Trans-Am series champion, Cameron Lawrence. Sharing the front row with Lawrence is another sports car veteran, Brandon Davis. Behind Lawrence and Davis are another two experienced drivers - the third-fastest qualifier, John Schwartz and Bryce Miller in fourth.
Matt Keegan was pulling double duty at Road America. Not only was he competing in the Saleen Cup series but he also shared a Panoz Avezzano GT with Preston Calvert in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX contests. Keegan qualified the No. 15 Saleen S1 sixth fastest but was late to the grid because of his SprintX commitments. Starting at the rear of the field, he charged to the front and took the lead for the victory on lap-14 of 20.
In the opening round at Portland, Carter Fartuch shared the winning car with Austin Riley. At Watkins Glen International, Fartuch earned a second and fourth-place finish which placed him second in the Young Drivers standings. At Road America, he started seventh overall but second in his category. Fartuch moved into the runner-up position with only four-laps remaining in the contest and held on for the class victory.
Cameron Lawrence entered the Saleen Cup with an impressive sports car racing resume – two Trans-Am titles and the 2015 IMSA GTD championship. Lawrence drove the No. 19 Saleen S1 and was in the Young Drivers category. In the first three rounds, he had logged three third-place finishes. At Road America, Lawrence qualified on the pole and led three-laps before becoming the first retiree from the contest.
One of the sports car veterans competing in the series was Brandon Davis. Davis won the 2009 Speed World Challenge GT championship and also has experience in the IMSA series. He won the first Saleen Cup event at Portland International Raceway for the Pro-Am division and scored another victory at Watkins Glen. Davis missed the pole at Road America by 0.034 but retired from the race on lap-5 with a suspension failure.
Paul Terry was one of four drivers competing in the Saleen Cup and SRO events – the others included Johan Schwartz, Hanna Zellers and Matthew Keegan. An accident in the first Touring Car race damaged his Nissan 370Z and prevented him from starting Sunday’s contest. With his focus on the Saleen Cup, Terry started fourth in the Pro-Am division. At the checkered flag, he was second in class and still led the points chase.
Johan Schwartz drove the No. 6 Saleen S1 and was one of many experienced drivers competing in the series. Schwartz was a World Challenge regular who won the 2015 B-Spec championship and he earned his second title on Saturday with a third-place finish in the Touring Car race. Competing in the Pro-Am group, Schwartz had scored third-place finishes at Portland and Watkins Glen and repeated these results at Road America.
The round five podium at Road America for the Saleen Cup’s Young Drivers division. In the center, scoring his second victory of the year is Carter Fartuch. To Fartuch’s left is the runner-up, Ricco Shlaimoun. Shlaimoun shared the No. 5 Saleen S1 with Molly Saleen after he crashed his car in qualifying. Completing the podium is Canadian, Austin Riley, who leads the class point standings.

16PAMatthew KeeganSALEEN S1 Cup Car20
27YDCarter FartuchSALEEN S1 Cup Car20
35PAPaul TerrySALEEN S1 Cup Car20
43PAJohan SchwartzSALEEN S1 Cup Car20
510PAEric PowellSALEEN S1 Cup Car19
612PAMartina KwanSALEEN S1 Cup Car19
78PALawrence LoshakSALEEN S1 Cup Car18
810YDAustin RileySALEEN S1 Cup Car18
99PAM. Saleen / R.ShlaimounSALEEN S1 Cup Car16
1011YDHanna ZellersSALEEN S1 Cup Car14
NC2PABrandon DavisSALEEN S1 Cup Car5
NC4PABryce MillerSALEEN S1 Cup Car5
NC1YDCameron LawrenceSALEEN S1 Cup Car3

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