Don Panoz to start the 24 Hour of Le Mans

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Don Panoz to start the 24 Hour of Le Mans

For this exceptional edition of the "24 Heures" which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the creation of the race, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, François Fillon - Minister of Employment, Roland du Luart - President of the Sarthe County...

For this exceptional edition of the "24 Heures" which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the creation of the race, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, Fran?ois Fillon - Minister of Employment, Roland du Luart - President of the Sarthe County Council, and Jean-Claude Boulard - Mayor of Mans, have jointly invited Mr. Donald Panoz to give the start to the 71st race of the "24 Heures du Mans".

Don Panoz at the wheel of his own race winning "Spirit of America" LMP-01 prototype sportscar.
Photo by Panoz Motor Sports.
Creator of the first series to bear the "Le Mans" name, and at the same time using its racing rules, Donald Panoz has developed endurance racing and taken it to a level probably never before attained on the American continent : the American Le Mans Series is today a success from a sports, commercial and media point of view.

Donald Panoz thus contributes in this way towards boosting the image and prestige of the "24 Heures", and is a major partner of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest for the promotion of the "24 Heures du Mans".

The founding President of the ALMS has written to Michel Cosson, President of the A.C.O., to confirm that he is delighted to accept the invitation: "It has been a great pleasure to work with the A.C.O. for the past several years and I look forward to a continued long and successful relationship between the A.C.O. and the ALMS. It is quite an honor to be selected as your event grand marshal and I am anxiously awaiting the race next month."

Donald Panoz becomes the sixth American personality to appear on the "24 Heures" roll-call of guests of honour, after Mr. Herrington, U.S. Ambassador, in 1957, the car manufacturer, Henry Ford II, in 1966, the actor and film director, Steve McQueen, in 1971, Mr. Bill France Sr. in 1976 and Mr. Bill Campbell, Mayor of Atlanta, in 1998.

He succeeds the French film director, Luc Besson, who was invited to give the start to the 2002 race

Panoz accepts ACO invitation as Le Mans Grand Marshal

-www.lemans.org

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