MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ SQUAD LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK AT MID OHIO Toronto - ON (May 16th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has its sights set on providing the Panoz brand with its third Mid Ohio victory when the American Le Mans...
MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ SQUAD LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK AT MID OHIO
Toronto - ON (May 16th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has its sights set on providing the Panoz brand with its third Mid Ohio victory when the American Le Mans Series visits the classic sports car course this weekend.
With a Sebring win already in the record books in 2006, Panoz driver David Brabham is looking to return to victory lane at Mid Ohio. He scored an outright win in 2001 with Jan Magnussen in ALMS competition for Panoz as well as a 1998 U.S. Road Racing Championship victory with Andy Wallace.
The Toronto-based squad is also out to bounce back following a challenging weekend in Houston last weekend when both Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2 entries experienced problems.
The #51 car of Tom Milner and Gunnar Jeannette broke a valve spring after only a handful of laps, while a poor tire selection by the team and a subsequent late race suspension problem pushed the Scott Maxwell/David Brabham car back to a sixth place GT2 class finish.
However, despite the Texan woes, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz still holds second place in the Team's and Manufacturer's Championships while Scott Maxwell and David Brabham are two of five drivers holding equal second place in the GT2 driver's standings -- only six points behind Porsche driver, Johannes van Overbeek.
"The entire team is really looking forward to this weekend because Mid Ohio is a track where the Panoz has shown good speed before," said Larry Holt, Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director.
"It is going to be interesting because the entire track has been resurfaced and our set-up data from previous years may not be as relevant.
"Houston was a tough weekend for us, but we still finished with a handful of points. Gunnar and Tom will also be looking for a change of luck this week -- hopefully they have got all their misfortune out the way in the first two races. Both those guys are very quick and they are very keen to get a good result under their belt.
"This will be our final hit-out in North America before leaving for Le Mans. Our target is to head to France with a good solid result under our belt."
"It was good to get some points at Houston considering we had a pretty tough night, but we are definitely looking to win at Mid Ohio -- that is certainly our plan for this week.
"The car has gone pretty well there in the past, but I haven't driven the Panoz at Mid Ohio so it is a little difficult to know exactly how we will go.
"But going from past history, it has been very fast. Mid Ohio is quite a challenging little track. It is not a dead-flat circuit -- there are a lot of elevation changes, including a lot of off-camber corners on exit.
"That makes the managing the grip levels quite a challenge. You have to push right to the edge without overstepping the mark and it is also a circuit you can attack.
"With the resurfacing now complete, you should be able to push even harder. I really enjoy the track -- it's a tough little course."
"Mid Ohio is a great little track. It's pretty tight, but it has some challenging and hilly corners. The track always has a great sportscar crowd and it is a true road racing course, which is well suited to my style.
"Most drivers really enjoy racing at Mid Ohio.
"I think we should be pretty strong. We were pleasantly surprised as to how strong the car was at Houston despite the end result.
"Our engine has a lot of torque and that helps coming onto the long straight at Mid Ohio and this place also has a lot of second and third gear corners.
"The track is quite smooth and our car goes well on this type of track. I think the Panoz should be a lot more competitive here and hopefully we can get back on the podium."
"Unfortunately I have only done one race stint this year and that equates to zero points. Tom and I were pretty keen to change that going into Houston but things didn't go our way.
"We will certainly be throwing caution to the wind and going for it at Mid Ohio because we have a lot of points to try and catch up.
"Tom and I are going to Mid Ohio with nothing less than a podium on our mind. In previous years the Panoz Esperante has gone very well at Mid Ohio and the track seems to suit our car.
"There are a lot of cool corners at Mid Ohio. The right-hander at the end of the back straight followed by the blind left brow is a great part of the track. When the car is working well you can carry the brakes right through that right-hander before coming over the brow. That part of the circuit is a real roller coaster."
"I've raced at Mid Ohio before in Formula BMW and last year I started from the rear of the grid in GT in the Rolex Series and won with Kelly Collins so I can't wait to get back.
"Despite that, it is not really my favourite track but I am still looking forward to it.
"The concrete patches were a problem in the past because the set-up required to get the car working well over the patches was different to what you needed for corners where there was no concrete.
"The first session is going to be interesting because the new surface will be new for everybody -- a bit like going to a street circuit for the first time.
"The GT2 class is extremely competitive this year. We have more cars than any other class and everybody out there has the ability to win the race. "Although the Ferrari hasn't won a race yet, that car is probably the car to beat. There really isn't a weak car or team on the grid."