• 2017 Saleen S7 Le Mans Limited Edition

Can this limited-edition S7 take on the Lamborghini Centenario?

LISTEN 06:02

Back in August of 2000 Saleen pulled the sheet off of the first American mid-engined production supercar known as the Saleen S7. Powered by a worked over, Ford 351 Windsor engine, this 550 horsepower supercar set the standard for other mid-engined production cars like the Falcon F7, Alessi AR-1, and the SSC Ultimate Aero. The S7 was only produced from 2000 to 2006 and carried on practically unchanged for each year it was in production. In 2006, Saleen pulled the sheet off of a twin-turbo version that rocked two Garrett turbochargers, but despite its impressive 750-horsepower output, never made it into production. With 2016 marking the 20th anniversary of Saleen’s seven-year championship run in racing, it has decided to build a special-edition version of the S7 called the LM.

Steve Saleen, the man behind the company and the initial designer of the S7 Prototype, said, “True to our form; we are bringing back America’s only true supercar. We are celebrating our winning heritage and advancing the performance DNA that Saleen was built around.”

At his point, very little is known about the S7 LM, but we do know that it will have enough power to beat out even the twin-turbo prototype from 2006 and will take on some unique updates to bring it up to speed with the rest of the world. It will be completely hand built and produced in just seven examples, all of which are probably already spoken for. So, let’s dive on in and take a look at the S7 LM and discuss it in more detail.

Continue reading to learn more about the Saleen S7 Le Mans Limited Edition.

What makes the Saleen S7 Le Mans Limited Edition special

2017 Saleen S7 Le Mans Limited Edition
- image 688689

As is the usual case with special edition models, there aren’t a whole lot of changes to really talk about, but there are enough. To start off, the body of the car is sporting a unique livery that includes a clear carbon fiber finish on the roof, front hood, and rear deck. There are also other doses of carbon fiber here and there including the fins on the front fascia, the fins inside the lower air intake on the sides, and the fins in the upper air intake just behind the doors. The new S7 LM also sports slightly different side view mirrors than the original and a new set of bespoke five-spoke wheels that are similar to the seven-spoke wheels on the original. Saleen says that there were some unique aerodynamic changes, however, the only thing I can really spot is the flatter fin on the rear deck. On the original model, it swooped upward while it looks to extend almost straight off the rear of the new LM.

At this point, the interior is pretty much a complete mystery. But, Saleen has said that there are also some updates to the interior that will make it unique. When the car does make its official debut, I would expect to see healthy doses of Alcantara, a large touchscreen infotainment system, and a decent pair of racing seats, among other things. It will almost certainly receive special badging inside to insinuate it as an S7 LM and will likely have a numbered plaque to denote which model of 7 it is. There will also be custom embroidering on the headrests and possible even the dash.

With 1,000 horsepower on tap, this thing could hit the 60 mph sprint in around 2.9 seconds with a stop speed that pushes the 220 mph barrier.

Hidden underneath the body is what really makes the S7 LM really special. While details are pretty slim as of the time of this writing, it has been announced that the car is powered by a 7.0-liter twin-turbo engine that is rated at some 1,000 horsepower. The S7 twin-turbo prototype of 2006 used a similar setup but was only rated at 750 horsepower, so this is a huge improvement. Performance figures are still a mystery as well, but with the original able to hit 60 mph in around 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 200 mph, we could be looking at a true monster. With 1,000 horsepower on tap, this thing could hit the 60 mph sprint in around 2.9 seconds with a stop speed that pushes the 220 mph barrier. In comparison, that would put the S7 LM in the same territory as the Lamborghini Centenario and the Ferrari F12tdf.

2017 Saleen S7 Le Mans Limited Edition
- image 688755

So how is Saleen coming up with this kind of horsepower? Well, there are a couple of different ways. First, it’s been 10 years since it made the 750 horsepower S7 Twin-Turbo. Technology has improved a lot since then, and it’s quite possible that the same setup has been further refined with updated turbos, increased boost pressure, and lighter but stronger internals. Then again, the term of the decade is electrification, and it’s entirely possible that Saleen has taken a more electrical approach with the S7 LM. It wouldn’t be surprising considering the work Saleen put into building the Saleen GTX, which is essentially a Tesla on steroids. That model has some 691 horsepower, which is a 159 horsepower more than the 532 horsepower that the 2016 Telsa Model S P90D.

If Saleen did, in fact, electrify the S7LM, expect the car to feature a refined version of the 750 horsepower twin-turbo engine from the S7 Twin with a 250 horsepower electric motor strapped between the engine and the transmission. The real question would be battery storage. However, some minor modifications to the front end would supply enough room for a hybrid battery without adding too much weight. As such, the S7 LM would be a bit heavier than the older model unless Saleen managed to shed some weight elsewhere. It’s still too early to say for sure, but it looks like Saleen just proved to Lamborghini and Ferrari that America can hold its own in the ever evolving supercar market.

Read our full review here.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

Press Release

Photo Credit: Saleen
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the beginning of a 7-year consecutive run of racing championships for Saleen. Sequentially from 1996 through 2002 Saleen clinched more than a dozen racing championships across the globe, with every test, race, and win contributing to the DNA makeup of the Saleen S7.

To commemorate these historic motorsport victories, Saleen has announced a new limited edition model, the Saleen S7 LM. Only 7 examples of this limited edition S7 will be produced and all will incorporate a unique livery, wheel, interior, and functional performance enhancements.

“True to our form, we are bringing back America’s only true supercar,” said Steve Saleen, President and CEO of Saleen Automotive, “We are celebrating our winning heritage and advancing the performance DNA that Saleen was built around.”

The Saleen S7 was initially unveiled in Monterey, Ca. Labeled as America’s Supercar, it is the most successful supercar model ever. The S7R race version has won at every major racetrack in the world, including Daytona, Sebring, Nurburgring, and the prestigious 24 Hours of LeMans. The street version has starred in several Hollywood blockbusters, including being driven by “God” in Bruce Almighty.

The new S7 LM supercar will be powered by a 7.0L twin-turbo engine rated at 1,000 horsepower and each one will be hand built at Saleen’s Corona, CA headquarters.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: