LE MANS REPEAT IN THE WORKS FOR MULTIMATIC-PANOZ? Braselton, Ga. - If ever there was a chance for the Panoz marque to stand on the top of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this may be it. Hopes and expectations are high for the Canadian...
LE MANS REPEAT IN THE WORKS FOR MULTIMATIC-PANOZ?
Braselton, Ga. - If ever there was a chance for the Panoz marque to stand on the top of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this may be it.
Hopes and expectations are high for the Canadian team from the American Le Mans Series and its Panoz Esperante GTLM at the most prestigious race in the world, set for next week at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe. The Panoz already has taken one endurance victory this year - the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Multimatic also has tasted victory at Le Mans with an LMP675 victory in 2000.
"The Panoz brand has become a crowd favorite in France over the years and we would love to give the fans something to cheer about with a podium finish next week," said team VP and Technical Director Larry Holt. "Le Mans is a significant challenge but a victory in the GT2 class is certainly our target. If everything falls into place, a repeat of our Sebring win is not out of the question."
The task falls this time on drivers Scott Maxwell (a Multimatic driver at Le Mans in 2000), Gunnar Jeannette and 24 Hours rookie Tom Milner. All three completed laps at the Le Mans Test Day on Sunday, although the team did face some difficulties with engine problems.
But based on its performance in the American Le Mans Series, the Panoz Esperante definitely is a GT2 contender in just its second appearance at Le Mans. In addition to winning at Sebring, the team also finished second at Mid-Ohio in the most recent Series round prior to the Le Mans break.
"It would mean a lot, and not just for me," Maxwell said. "Representing Canada and Panoz as a team would be special. We have a realistic chance of being there. We have the speed and we just need a little reliability to keep up with the Porsches and be around for a good result."
"Winning the 24 Hours would be the biggest thing ever in my life," Jeanette said. "It's what I've grown up around. I finished second here before and led the race here a couple of different years. Getting to stand on the top step of the podium would be the pinnacle of my racing career."
The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time (11. a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV, which will have flag-to-flag, extended 24-hour coverage. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.
The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. MotorsTV will air the race from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. CET on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.