Awards Flow for New Adelaide Organising Team

The founder of the American Le Mans Series and the Adelaide event's newest management recruit have both received major awards in the past week. Don Panoz was announced as the joint winner of the John Bolster Award for Technical Achievement...

The founder of the American Le Mans Series and the Adelaide event's newest management recruit have both received major awards in the past week.

Don Panoz was announced as the joint winner of the John Bolster Award for Technical Achievement with ex-Formula One World Champion, Jackie Stewart at the prestigious Autosport Awards in the U.K. last weekend.

The American entrepreneur's sportscar team's barnstorming assault on Le Mans 24 Hour and the American Le Mans Series with a front-engined car was hailed for its outstanding results. The fact that a front engined car has not won at Le Mans for 30 years, has not daunted Panoz.

Led by Australian David Brabham, the Panoz team is one of the favorites for next year's 24 classic and will be a leading attraction at the "Race of a 1000 Years" scheduled for the Adelaide street circuit on New Years Eve, 2000.

Led by Dean Rainsford, the organising team for the Adelaide race has been boosted by the appointment of Rob Curkpatrick to a key executive role.

Curkpatrick last week was announced as the Australian Sports Executive of the Year at the Australian Sports Awards in Sydney for his efforts as Chief Executive of the Australian Masters Games held in Adelaide this year.

The Masters Games attracted a record 11,775 competitors who contested 46 sports in 80 different venues across Adelaide.

Curkpatrick will officially take up his new challenge with the Le Mans event in January.

"The Adelaide Le Mans race is a fantastic opportunity for this State and I am delighted to be part of this exciting project," Mr. Curkpatrick said.

"Don Panoz has done an outstanding job in creating this international series and I am looking forward to working with Dean Rainsford and his team in making this event a success.

"This is a unique opportunity for Adelaide to welcome international motorsport back to South Australia with a major sportscar event featuring all the flavour, history and mystique of Le Mans.

"The latest Sweeney report reveals Adelaide leads the country in participation, attendance and television viewing of motorsport and I am certain this event will be warmly welcomed by the people of South Australia."

Adelaide will host of the final round of the 2000 American Le Mans Series. The Automobile del' Ouest (ACO), organisers and rights holders for trademarks and rules for the 24 hour race, agreed to license their internationally famous brand name and rules to Don Panoz this year to expand upon the rich history and tradition of Le Mans.

The hugely successful debut of the new series prompted Panoz to expand the championship into an international series with races in the USA, Europe, South East Asia and Australia in 2000.

"Don is scheduled to visit Adelaide next week to begin planning on next year's event," Curkpatrick said.

"Adelaide's reputation for staging highly successful motorsport events was a key to his decision in holding the race in South Australia.

"We are not out to recreate the Grand Prix - this will be a very unique and exciting event in its own right."

-Paul Ryan-

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