2009 Saleen S7-R Pilots: J. Canal, G. Gardel, R. Berville Team: Larbre Compétition Race: 13th overall (1st in GT1) at Le Mans in 2010 Ixo - LMM 194 (diecast)
Steve Saleen founded Saleen Automotive in 1983. The brand initially started out modifying Ford Mustangs, and by the 1990’s they had a full-time race team. In 2000 they introduced their flagship car, the Saleen S7, a hand-built, high-performance super car designed and initially built in the UK that was produced until 2007. A few short months after the debut of the road car, the racing version of the car came out: the S7-R. Conceived with endurance racing in mind, Saleen produced a total of 14 cars produced (later on they produced seven additional chassis). The engine was a big block aluminum V8 by Ford, with 6997 cm³ and 16 valves, capable of 600 hp.
Though car #50 (chassis #082R) was a 2009 model, its manufacturing started in 2006/2007. Because of the lack of funding, work on the car only happened after business hours. With that, it was ready in 2009! Since it took so long, the car received the nickname “Melissa”, the name of one of the engineer’s girlfriend 🥰. Though slow to come out from the factory floor, nevertheless in 2010 it achieved the best result ever for a Saleen at La Sarthe: 1st place in the GT1 class.
Saleen isn’t a manufacturer that you normally associate with Le Mans. Also, a bit dated in the looks department (too 90s?), but I really it’s “normal car” looks. So a nice looking car from an uncommon manufacturer AND a class winner as the cherry on top? Hell yeah, take my money! In scale this S7-R #50 is another terrific model from Ixo. And I mean Rebellion-nice. However on my model one of the decals on the side skirt was peeling. An easy fix but makes me worry a bit about all those decals in the long run.