PANOZ DUO GET MORE HITS THAN ELVIS AT LIME ROCK PARK Lakeville - CT (July 1st, 2006) The Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz crew face long hours of bodywork repairs after after a battle-scarred day at Lime Rock Park in round four of the American...
PANOZ DUO GET MORE HITS THAN ELVIS AT LIME ROCK PARK
Lakeville - CT (July 1st, 2006) The Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz crew face long hours of bodywork repairs after after a battle-scarred day at Lime Rock Park in round four of the American Le Mans Series on Saturday.
The #50 and #51 Panoz Esperante GTLM machines finished 6th and 7th in the GT2 class and unfortunately finished the race with the roof as the only undamaged panel on both cars.
After starting 5th and 6th in class, Tom Milner grabbed the early advantage in the #51 after Brabham suffered contact in turn one when a slowing prototype held up the pack on the opening lap.
The #50 car suffered a damaged rear diffuser which subsequently came adrift from the rear of the car after a number of laps.
Both cars pitted for fuel and tires at the first caution period then began a fight back through the field - the new Pirelli tire compounds giving them the best grip of the weekend.
Milner was unlucky after one hour after the #23 Porsche of Klaus Graf tried to outbrake the #21 BMW of Joey Hand in turn one. Graf ran wide leaving a large gap which Milner drove into, only for Graf to turn in and make heavy contact with the Panoz.
David Brabham was able to dodge both spinning cars and moved up to third place after several cars pitted under caution. The Australian began an impressive charge after the class leaders but suffered more misfortune later in his stint.
The #50 car was hit and spun by a GT1 car, forcing Brabham to pit lane because of a leaking tire. Before he could make it back to the pits, the Panoz was hit again, forcing Brabham to limp into his pit box with two broken rims.
After a two lap delay, Gunnar Jeannette was back aboard the #51 car while Scott Maxwell took over from Brabham.
Maxwell's chances of a podium finish were then ruined by a broken seat which forced the diminutive Canadian to have to hold himself in position as the seat moved under acceleration, braking and cornering.
"It ended up being a pretty rough weekend but we were able to get both cars home at the finish," Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.
"Tom had done a fantastic job until he got hit by the #23 car, that really hurt their race which was unfortunate because they have had all the bad luck this year.
"We had a terrible time on Friday with a lack of grip over the concrete patches but the pace came to us on race day. It seemed like we had a target on our cars all day -- all that contact really took away any chance we had of a podium.
"Brabs came on the radio when he was in third and thought we had a good shot of running down the leaders. But once Scotty had the broken seat, that made life really difficult.
"Every time he would get on the gas, brake or even turn the car he would have to hold on tight. It tore all his cool suit lines out and he couldn't see out the mirrors. He actually did a stellar job to stay within 2-3 seconds a lap of the race pace."
"It was certainly a bit of a frustrating day. We weren't in great shape on Friday but the way the car was on Sunday I thought I had a chance to challenge at the front.
"Once I got hit and had to pit early we were really out of the running.
"When the seat broke on Scotty it was just a matter of getting it to the finish.
"We are probably lucky that some of our rivals also didn't get too many points either.
"I am really looking forward to the next race at Salt Lake City. No-one has been there before so it will be a lot like it was at Houston - however, from what I've heard the track is outstanding."
"Unfortunately my stint didn't amount to much - I just had to keep going around to try to pick up some points.
"For the last 45 minutes I was just trying to hold on. With the seat broken, it was like sitting in a rocking chair - the seat was moving about 5-6 inches every time I did anything in the car.
"The belts kept slipping off, I couldn't see out the mirrors and the cool suit tubes got pulled out.
"I could see with the little rear camera we have in the car but it is not a great perspective - very hard to see who's coming.
"I was just trying to keep out of people's way and not get hit - I got punted once by one of the Porsche prototypes fairly hard."
"I am pleased we got the monkey off our backs and got a race finish but it wasn't the best of days.
"The car was pretty solid before Tom got hit by the Porsche. We had to pit under green and that pretty much ruined our day from there.
"The car felt a little strange after that and we tried to go as long as we could. I finished the last 105 minutes on one set of Pirellis but we had to make an extra stop for a splash of fuel.
"I am really looking forward to the next race - Salt Lake City is my new home town and I have done a lot of laps around Miller Motorsports Park already doing coaching and instructing.
"I really think the Panoz should be much better suited there than what it was at Lime Rock."
"It was good to finally get a race finish under our belt especially after the frustrations of Houston and Mid Ohio.
"The car was really good at the start and I thought to myself that we could end up having a really good day.
"But once I had contact with the Porsche that really ended our chances.
"Klaus had made a run on the BMW and made an error and ran wide. He tried to protect his position but by the time he turned in I was already there.
"He spun around and hit me again in the back as I tried to sneak around the outside - I think that actually caused us more problems than the hit on the left front."