A number of supercar fans still remember the Saleen S7 that was unveiled in 2000. After all, the Saleen S7 was able to exert its dominance both on the road and the track, with multiple wins in the vaunted Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series. However, it has already been nearly a decade since the production of the S7 ended, and Saleen became contented with offering tuned versions of the Ford Mustang. Now, Saleen is back into the business of building its own sports car, as headlined by the new Saleen S1.
Before you raise your hopes up, the new Saleen S1 isn't nearly as powerful as the world-renowned Saleen S7. The most powerful version of the Saleen S7 has a twin turbo V8 engine as its core. This dynamic mill isn't your ordinary powerplant as it is tuned to deliver 750 hp (559 kW) of output at 6,300 rpm and 700 lb.-ft. (949 Nm) of peak torque available at 4,800 rpm. In this guise, the Saleen S7 could sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 248 miles per hour (399 km/h).
On the other hand, the new Saleen S1 will be powered by a Ford-sourced 2.3-liter turbocharged engine that could deliver up to 450 hp (335 kW) of max output and 425 lb.-ft. (576 Nm) of peak torque. With this power at hand, the Saleen is expected to able to go as fast – although restricted – as 180 mph (290 km/h). Its zero-to-60mph sprint time is expected to be inferior to that of the S7. Saleen hasn’t disclosed the underpinnings, chassis or gearbox that will be employed on the S1, although there have been rumors that the new sports car is derived from the already discontinued Artega GT. There have also been indications that Saleen will follow up the sports car with an electric version, which would be made available after the conventional variant.
Taking charge of building the new Saleen S1 is Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co., a China-based joint venture between Saleen and its Chinese manufacturing partner. The joint venture is set to commence production of the Saleen S1 at its assembly site in Rugao, China. Jiangsu has already injected around $2.68 billion to prepare the site for the production of the Saleen S1. The site is expected to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 cars when it opens in 2018. However, not all of this available capacity will be allotted for the Saleen S1, since the joint venture also plans to build passenger cars like sedans, sport utility vehicles and crossovers.
Saleen has plans to bring the Saleen S1 sports coupe to the United States. In fact, the company has already confirmed plans to unveil the new Saleen S1 to the US market at the upcoming 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show this month.