Panoz Motor Sport has launched a spectacular local assault on Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years with lead driver David Brabham joining forces with Jason Bright and Greg Murphy on New Year's Eve.
Brabham had been scheduled to drive the new 2001 model Panoz with regular team-mate, Danish star Jan Magnussen, but the chance to possibly create history with an all-local victory was too good to refuse.
"Brighty and Murph did a great job in testing the car at Sebring, and I think we will make a very tough combination in Adelaide," Brabham said.
"As we have no chance winning the Championship now, we are working towards next year. Bringing the new car to Adelaide will be a real test, but we will get loads of information for next year's assault on the championship.
"But this one race I really wanted to win and the chance to put the three of us in the one car was too good an opportunity."
Panoz test driver, German Klaus Graf, will now continue development of the new 2001 Panoz, driving the car with Magnussen at Adelaide.
Graf was originally scheduled to share the third remaining Panoz with regular's Johnny O'Connell (U.S.A) and Hiroki Katoh (Japan). The German performed impressively in a number of races throughout the year including Petit Le Mans and the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Australian Bright and New Zealander Murphy were delighted with the chance to team up with Brabham, Australia's most experienced international sportscar driver.
"This will really give the fans something to cheer for," Bright said.
"I am really pleased David has put his faith in Murph and I and believe this combination could be our best chance of winning Adelaide.
"The reaction I got from being an Aussie at the Gold Coast Indy this year was amazing, but having all three local guys in one car for Adelaide should be fantastic."
Bright and Murphy recently finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at the FAI 1000 at Bathurst for V8 Supercars. Bright also signed this week to replace Craig Lowndes at the Holden Racing Team in 2001.
Murphy is eagerly awaiting the Adelaide race and the chance to get back behind the wheel of the Panoz.
"Jason and I probably had our sights set on a spot on the podium, but with David's added experience, a win is not out of the question," Murphy said.
"The car was fantastic to drive at Sebring and the local knowledge that the three of us have will be a real advantage.
"A six hour race is going to be very tough, but we will be fired up knowing the crowd will be right behind us."
Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years will be the final round of the 2000 American Le Mans Series. The event will be staged from December 29 to 31 on Adelaide's famous international street circuit - the former home of the Australian Grand Prix.
--Paul Ryan: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.lemansadelaide.com.au