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It was a great weekend for the Saleen BullyDog Performance Autosport team. Chris Cobetto piloted his Saleen Speedlab 01-R Mustang to two pole positions and two podium finishes, including the team’s first win at VIR. The win was sweetened post impound when the team found that they had smashed the American Iron class record by more than one second, turning those strong, light HRE wheels over quicker than anyone else for a lightning fast 2:07.36, a time nearly four seconds faster than the cars initial outing in February.
The Performance Autosport crew had pulled several “all-nighters” getting the car ready, including the addition of a Baer 6R front brake kit, C & R Setrab oil cooler, C & R radiator, a rear wing and aero hood from Tiger Racing and a custom splitter.
The time spent was well worth it. Peter Krause, driving coach to the pros, evaluated Cobetto’s driving data, comparing data from February’s outing, and stated that a minimum of 1.4 seconds had been gained in the braking zones. “I routinely check temps and pressures on my RacePak IQ3 dash and the coolers from C & R just kept thing rock solid.” Said three-time NASA National Champion Chris Cobetto. “…and the brakes were just awesome. Our Baer/HAWK combination never faded and stayed consistent while hauling down the Beast. Confidence in my ability to stop translates to a faster lap.”
“The car never skipped a beat the entire race.” Said Cobetto. “We chose an Exedy clutch and Rockland Gear 6 speed close ratio gearbox to hook to the new Ford 5.0. It is a deadly and deadly reliable combination. We race the motor in stock configuration and it just pulls and pulls and does everything you want it to do effortlessly. It is on par with any V8 from anywhere, and every shift is tight and smooth..”
American Iron is a series in which the classing is based upon power to weight. NASA deems 9.5 pounds per 1 HP as the formula. Post race, the top three finishers were weighed and sent to the dyno by NASA Mid Atlantic race officials. With a post race weight of 3650 lbs, the engine would need the average horsepower over three pulls to be 384. It was 383. “Yeah, that’s a little too close for comfort,” said Performance Autosport owner, Mark Lamaskin, “We are in the enviable position of having to actually reduce some of the power that we have but that will make an already reliable car, uber-reliable and reliability is key in a championship run.” Lamaskin continued. Lamaskin then joked. “Either that or we have to start feeding Chris (Cobetto) a few more cheeseburgers.”
The next stop for the Performance Autosport/Cobetto Racing team is NASA Mid Atlantic’s April 9-10 at Summit Point Motorsports Park in Summit Point, West Virginia. The team encourages any enthusiast to visit them at the track.
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