Designer of the Saleen S7, Phil Frank, is celebrating his crowning achievement: The #50 Saleen S7R campaigned by Larbre Competition won the last GT1 classification race held at the 78th running of 24 hours of Le Mans.
“This is very proud moment for me," said Phil Frank, "ten years ago I had just completed my design work on the S7. I had been providing design consulting for Saleen for about seven years at the time, including two generations of Saleen Mustangs, a Saleen Explorer, a Saleen Focus, and the Saleen SR Mustang race car. The later was the precursor to the S7, as it took more time to convert a Mustang into a true competition car than to start from a clean sheet of paper. And thus my design and development work began.”
Phil explains, “December 19, 1999, Portland, Oregon, the design work for the S7 officially began in my humble basement studio of my home. At the time I was employed by Nike Equipment as a watch designer, so my S7 design work took place during my second shift, from 9 p.m. to 1, 2, or even 3 a.m., I knew it was time to sleep when the RML engineers in England responded instantly to my emails!”
Phil continues, “For the next four months I pioneered and completed the first complete digital development of the body and interior of a production car, if you can believe it using Rhinoceros3D 1.0! We went from 3-D data to production surfaces with just one 1:5 scale CNC model in between.”
August 19, 2000 the S7 debuted at Pebble Beach, just eight short months after the initial sketches were put to paper; an amazing achievement. The S7R race version was introduced shortly afterwards in 2001, where it went on to win all four of the Championships in which it competed that year including: the driver's championship of the American and European LeMans Series', the American Grand Am Series, and the FIA GT Championship.
Says Steve Saleen: "The Saleen S7R is the most successful racing car ever to come out of the United States. After having won at virtually every major race track in the world, the win at LeMans represents the crown of motor racing. The almost entirely trouble-free race for the Saleen S7R underlines the excellence of this almost ten year old design."
Photos Courtesy of Phil Frank Design
Provided by duPont REGISTRY