Saleen under fire from class rivals

Would-be rivals of the all-new Saleen C7-R have criticised the British-built sportscar, questioning its suitability for the GTS class

Saleen under fire from class rivals

Both Chevrolet and Chrysler have expressed concern over the all-new Saleen car which was launched at Laguna Seca 10 days ago. The car was designed by Saleen and built by Ray Mallock Limited as a contender for Le Mans and also the ALMS series.

"The car has composite panels over a tubular spaceframe," said Doug Fehan, manager of Chevrolet's Corvette GTS programme. "That's something which we were told we could not do. The Saleen has the potential to kill the category because it has raised the bar in terms of technology."

Hugues de Chaunac, boss of the all-conquering Chrysler Viper Team, also raised doubts. He said: "I would like to know what the people at Le Mans think about this car."

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, however, seems unconcerned and is confident the 7-litre, V8-engined car will be race legal when it undergoes its final inspection in less than two weeks.

"We know that car well and we think it's very impressive," said Le Mans rules boss Alain Bertaut.

The Saleen car was expected to make its race debut at Road Atlanta next month in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans, but a race nearer the end of the season is now more likely.

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