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Riding like a 'bat outta hell'

Valencia businessman builds only street-legal Formula One race car in state

Posted: October 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.

George Salazar Jr. drives his GS3 Formula One race car on The Old Road in Valencia. Salazar boasts the only such street-legal vehicle in California. Photo by Dan Watson.

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The roar of Grand Prix race cars brings to mind Monaco or Long Beach — not the streets of Valencia.

But Valencia business owner George Salazar Jr. breaks that barrier with his 2006 Formula One race car that he named the GS3, for his son George Salazar III, 19, who is serving in the U.S. Marines.

The GS3 is the only street-legal Formula One race car in California, fulfilling those requirements with 22-inch ground clearance, license plates, head and tail lights and crash bar.

Salazar Senior, who has been building cars in Santa Clarita for 20 years, built this one from the ground up. The car gets its 140-mile-per-hour horsepower from a Turbo Hayabusa four-cylinder motorcycle engine requiring two cooling radiators.

The power plant, specially designed reverse gear, stainless steel racing suspension and tires capable of taking a turn at 1.25 G-forces were all crammed into the familiar silhouette of a Formula One race car. 

“Whenever I stop to get gas, it always draws a crowd,” Salazar said. “People are always very curious. They want to take pictures and video; they want to sit in it.”

Salazar has made some modifications to GS3.

“I’d be driving down the road and I got kind of bored, so I designed a second seat,” he said. “That’s where my wife Deynira sits. Now we take long trips to San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Diego and enjoy the drive.”

The car gets 15 miles per gallon on city streets and 29 on the open road, Salazar said. But the surprising fuel efficiency is not the reason Salazar enjoys GS3.

On the quiet four-lane street outside his Valencia Industrial Center business, GS Engineering, Salazar dons his black racing helmet and racing gloves, buckles the heavy clasp of the three-point racing seat belts, and provides a little demonstration of what GS3 can do.

After a few passes that didn’t exactly comply with the speed limit, he veered the car over to the curb, reminiscent of a pit stop from the racing movie “Rush.”

Lifting his helmet visor, he exclaimed, “This thing goes like a bat outta hell. You gotta try it.”

dwatson@signalscv.com

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