Saleen has confirmed plans to enter the GT4 ranks with its new S1 sports car, which is slated to debut in time for the 2020 Pirelli GT4 America season.
The California-based manufacturer, which announced on Friday its new single-make series, will base the GT4 car off its 450-horsepower S1 Cup machine that will break cover later this year.
“We’re looking at the GT4 program for 2020,” Saleen Automotive founder and CEO Steve Saleen told Sportscar365. “This is a warmup but it gets everything moving in that direction.”
Roughly 85 percent of the S1 Cup car, which is currently in the final phases of development, will be carried over to the GT4 machine, according to Saleen motorsport director Gabriele Cadringher.
Cadringher, who likened the Cup car to a “mini GT4”, said discussions have begun with SRO Motorsports Group on homologation, which could come later this year.
“The first prototype of the Cup car, once we’ve gone through the process of finalizing the Cup car, it will be immediately transformed into the GT4 car,” Cadringher told Sportscar365.
“There will be some more things that are necessary in GT4, also because in GT4 there are more and more endurance races, so we’ll need a bigger [fuel] tank, etc.”
A build target of 12 GT4 cars has been established for the first year, according to Cadringher, who said that sales and support will initially be focused on the North American market.
He said the car will be one of the more cost-effective on the GT4 market, priced at under $200,000.
Saleen, meanwhile, confirmed plans for a ‘factory’ team in GT4 America next year that will feature the class champions from the Saleen Cup, who will receive free entries.
Cadringher expects the GT4 car to begin on-track testing in the summer.
Saleen GT3 Car in Pipeline
A future expansion into GT3 has not been ruled out and is understood to be among the targets for the automaker, which is making its re-entry into motorsports for the first time since the Saleen S7-R.
Saleen has recently expanded into the Chinese market with a new partner, with construction of a new factory near Shanghai underway, where the full range of Saleen production cars will be built.
When asked about the prospects for additional GT cars, Saleen said there’s a “master plan.”
“This year you’ll see some unique products from us,” he said. “That’s all I can say at this time.”
Sportscar365 understands a potential GT3 car would be based around a new, yet-to-be-announced Saleen model.