A quarter century after Steve Saleen started building heavily modified high performance Ford Mustangs, the company that still bears his name, if not his direct involvement, unveiled a new concept car at the New York Auto Show. The S5S Raptor is the second ground-up design from Saleen following the S7R that debuted several years ago. The Raptor is the first car from Saleen specifically designed to run on ethanol. During the presentation CEO Paul Wilbur emphasized the use of cellulosic E85, which several cars in the American Le Mans Series are running this season. The Raptor is powered by a new supercharged 5.0L V-8 that produces 650hp when running on biofuel. Saleen is following many other high performance tuners and builders in switching to E85. It allows them to tune the engines for higher performance without having to use expensive high octane racing gasoline blends. The Raptor is currently a concept, but Saleen is evaluating potential customer interest before deciding whether to proceed with production. If Saleen does proceed it could be available within two years at approximately $185,000.
SALEEN REVEALS SUPERCAR CONCEPT THE "S5S RAPTOR" AT THE
NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
New York, NY (March 20, 2008) – Saleen's all new concept vehicle, the S5S Raptor made its world debut today on the floor of New York City's Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center. The S5S Raptor unveiling comes amidst several other Saleen announcements including a partnership with Dan Gurney, Rockstar Games and the integration of several first time seen ASC products, featured on two existing Saleen vehicles.
"We are extremely proud of the Raptor. It is the car that enthusiasts are waiting for America to produce and Saleen is just the company to answer that call," said Paul Wilbur, Saleen President and CEO.
The S5S Raptor represents the first ground up vehicle to be conceived by the new Saleen management team and the most extensive demonstration of the combined capabilities of Saleen engineering and the ASC creative team.
"The Raptor is just a glimpse of things to come from Saleen," says Chief Technical Officer, Chris Theodore. "Our company is unique in that we have the experience and knowledge behind some of the most exciting performance vehicles built over the past 20 years. Beyond the S7 Supercar, our team members have been involved in the Viper, Prowler, Ford GT, and the products of Chrysler SRT and Ford's SVT performance groups. These 'lessons learned' are evident in the Raptor concept and we will continue to build upon them as the company evolves."
The Raptor is a two seat mid-engine super car that competes in size and style with core offerings from the most notable of Italian exotic car makes, but with a segment leading 650hp and 630 lb-ft of torque provided by a Saleen 5.0L Supercharged Engine - the source of the "S5S" designation. Unlike its competitors, the Raptor is designed to digest cellulosic ethanol. "This is the same ethanol formula," states Wilbur, "that is the official fuel of the 2008 American Le Mans Race Series and the IRL." The higher octane rating of E85 results in more power. It is a combination that will send the Raptor screaming to 60 mph in a g-force generating 3.2 seconds. With ethanol power, the car is both mean and clean!
Saleen's use of cellulosic ethanol is right for us for two reasons:
· It maintains consistency with our racing heritage, as many of the racing formats (IRL, American Lemans, etc) are now adopting ethanol as the racing fuel of choice.
· It also helps our environment through cleaner tailpipe emissions as well as reducing America's dependency on foreign oil.
While Saleen is a small, specialty vehicle maker, we share in the responsibility to do what we can to support our environment, without compromising on our brand values.
Compromise does not enter into the conversation at all. The Raptor's hand-built 5.0L cubic inch engine with its patented twin-screw supercharger delivers its 650 horses at 6300 rpm and hits max torque at just 4400 RPM. This power sits on call beneath the knob of a close ratio 6-speed manual, or optional paddle shifting sequential gearbox. It's a combination that send Raptor's rigid aluminum chassis screaming to a top speed of over 200 mph.
As power is nothing without control, the double wishbone suspension and rack and-pinion steering of the S5S is augmented by ABS traction control and stability control systems. The brake system features 15-inch (381 mm) front rotors with 6 piston calipers, and 13-inch (308 mm) rear rotors with dual piston calipers for maximum stopping power. Road holding traction is provided by the 275/35 ZR20 and 315/35/ZR20 Pirelli Rosso tires that wrap the 20" forged aluminum front and rear wheels respectively. The unique black-diamond and carbon fiber finish on the wheels make them as stunning as they are strong.
"We spent a great deal of time on the design of the Raptor," says Marques McCammon, General Manager of Saleen Automotive. "The vehicle's bold shoulders are reflective of an aggressive American attitude, reminiscent of Can-Am race car styling cues, but delivered with modern sophistication. If you see a little Chaparral or McLaren design influence in this car, you are right."
The aesthetics for the Raptor were developed by ASC Creative Services, America's largest independent automotive design firm. "This vehicle was an aggressively compressed program that combined the traditional methods ofthree-dimensional clay sculpting with sophisticated digital modeling tools," said Steve Nowicki, ASC Creative Services Director. "The vehicle is distinctive in a way that I think the world is going to love. The primary designer on this program was Dave Byron, a CCS graduate and passionate member of ASC's Design team".
Raptor's unique sun flair yellow paint accentuates the cars beautiful body forms. The interior of the car can be illuminated by the sun or the city lights through the solar-tented scenic roof that covers the cockpit. Detailing is transformed from mere aluminum on the vehicles wheels and exhaust by their black-diamond powder coat finish.
"In all the S5S Raptor is a work of art aimed to take your breath away," said McCammon. "It is aggressive and sexy at the same time."
According to Saleen executives, the S5S Raptor could enter the market in as little as two years, and should it go forward, it would carry a base price of approximately $185,000 MSRP.