MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ HAS "UNFINISHED BUSINESS" AT LAGUNA SECA Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend, ready to tackle "unfinished business" from 2005. In the final round of last year's...
MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ HAS "UNFINISHED BUSINESS" AT LAGUNA SECA
Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend, ready to tackle "unfinished business" from 2005.
In the final round of last year's American Le Mans Series, the factory Panoz squad gave up the race lead and finished second after having to make a late race fuel stop with only eight minutes remaining.
The #50 car of Bill Auberlen and Robin Liddell finished only 14.07 seconds behind the race winning White Lightning Porsche -- a result made a little harder to swallow by a lap 24 incident which cost the Panoz squad nearly 20 seconds. Liddell was spun by the Maserati of Andrea Bertolini in the final turn -- the delay proving extremely costly by the end of the race.
David Brabham and Scott Maxwell head to the fabled West-coast venue this week keen to finish the 2006 ALMS season as they started -- with a race victory.
Brabham has tasted success at Laguna previously, teaming with Jan Magnussen to win the GT1 class for Ferrari in 2003.
For American "young guns" Tom Milner and Gunnar Jeannette, the final race of the season represents a great opportunity for the duo to claim their first podium result of the season. The consistent young stars have claimed fourth in the past two rounds and are looking to improve on that in the final race of 2006.
Multimatic Motorsports was also successful at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the Ford Mustang FR500C Grand-Am Cup program in 2005 -- the race victory playing a key role in setting up the driver's, team's and manufacturer's championships for David Empringham, Multimatic and Ford.
"I'm certainly looking to 'bookend' the championship -- that would be a great way to finish the year," Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.
"Last year Multimatic was involved in engineering the cars for Panoz Motorsports and we came very close to winning the race at Laguna. If we hadn't had that incident with the Maserati MC12 we probably would have won the race.
"We ended up second but we were certainly in the hunt for the win. The cars raced well, we qualified strongly, and I have great expectations for a similar result this weekend.
"Of course we have the Ferrari 430s joining the party this year which is always tough but I think we have an opportunity to do very well."
The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round of the series is a "mini-enduro", a four-hour race which finishes as the sun sets at 6.45pm (local time) on Saturday (October 21).
On-track action begins on Thursday with the first test session at 4.40pm.
"I am really looking forward to Laguna Seca this week because it is such a great track.
"Hopefully our car will be fast there because it will be great to end the season on a high note.
"Laguna is kind of an 'understeery' type track so getting the chassis to work well can take some time to get the best out of the tires.
"The local area around the track is a beautiful part of the world - very relaxing. It should be a great location to finish the year really strongly."
"The team certainly had a great result at Petit with third and fourth and it would be great to carry that momentum into Laguna Seca.
"I love Laguna Seca because it is a very challenging circuit. Trying to find grip is always a challenge as it is a relatively slow circuit.
"Apparently the Esperante has battled understeer here in the past but this will be the first time I have driven it here.
"The team won here last year in the Mustang in Grand Am Cup so repeating that effort is obviously a target for us."
"Tom and I want a podium really badly - especially after coming so close in the last couple of races.
"I raced the Esperante at Laguna back in 2004 and I am now really looking forward to going back there.
"I originally drove at Laguna in 2000 in a P2 car and actually won our class.
"I haven't done an ALMS race here for a couple of years so I have been doing a few laps on computer games to brush up my track knowledge before this weekend."
"I raced the BMW in the Rolex Series at Laguna Seca last year and won my class so I can't wait to try the Panoz there this year.
"Laguna is a low grip surface and it will be interesting racing into the night. The amount of tire 'pick-up' off line in a four hour race is also going to make things very interesting.
"Grabbing a podium is certainly our aim this week. After all the trouble we had at the start of the year, a top three would be a perfect finish.
"The guys on the crew have worked so hard on our car all year and a podium would be a great way to repay their efforts."