Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz - Ready for 2006 ALMS assault
Multimatic and Panoz team up for American Le Mans Series assault
A new chapter in the Panoz racing story has been opened as responsibility for the 2006 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) factory GT2 program passes to Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz.
This partnership of two of North America's strongest motorsport organizations has been created to to enhance the success of the Panoz Esperante GTLM racing car.
The program will be run out of Multimatic's Toronto race shops independently of the other Panoz related motorsport organizations. Technical support of the program will continue to be provided by the car's design and manufacturing source, Elan Motorsports Technologies (EMT).
"The idea here was to create an independent entity to run the factory GT2 race effort" explained Larry Holt, Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director of Multimatic.
"This is the organizational methodology utilized by most car manufacturers involved in racing and so Don and Danny Panoz felt it was time to take the same approach."
Don Panoz continued, "This is in no way a reflection of what Panoz Motor Sports has been able to achieve, after all the team had some great results this past year. But we felt that with all of the other programs being undertaken within the Panoz Motor Sports Group that Larry and Multimatic could give us a more focused, and aggressive, approach to campaigning the Esperante GTLM."
The Canadian engineering organization has provided extensive support to the Panoz factory program over the past four years, but will now increase its involvement to take overall responsibility for the Braselton, GA-based manufacturer's sports car racing activities.
Multimatic Motorsports has a history of sports car success and most recently led the factory Ford Mustang FR500C assault on the 2005 Grand Am Cup Championship -- winning the driver's, manufacturer's and team's championship. In 2000 the team won the LMP675 class at the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans; this representing the proudest moment in the company's motorsport history - the only Canadian team to have achieved such a victory.
Multimatic also achieved success in 2002 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona -- taking the first ever Daytona Prototype victory in the debut race for the class with a car of their own manufacture.
"Multimatic is extremely proud of our engineering involvement with the Panoz Esperante road car and its GT2 racing program, and we are thrilled that Don and Danny Panoz have entrusted us to represent their brand on the world motorsports stage," Holt said.
"Taking the Esperante to victory at Road Atlanta earlier this year was an outstanding achievement for Panoz -- proving that the car is an equal to the established European brands. Our plan for 2006 is to ensure that it becomes a regular visitor to victory lane."
The Panoz Esperante is a high performance hand crafted limited production sports car in Braselton, Georgia by Panoz Auto Development Company (PADC).
The racing version of the car, known as the GTLM, has been developed for FIA/ACO GT2 competition by EMT with chassis engineering and manufacturing support from Multimatic. The car is available to customers through EMT and, in addition to the factory ALMS effort, will be campaigned by Team LNT, primarily in Europe.
"I foresee us having a cooperative arrangement with LNT's two car effort in Europe, except for when we are competing against each other!!!" Holt said.
"All technical development will continue to be led and coordinated by EMT assuring that customers get the latest technical advancements from the race track.
"From this perspective not much will change; it is only the at-track running of the cars that is being passed to us and even there I am trying to bring as many of the old Panoz Motor Sports staff into the fold because of their experience and expertise. Unfortunately somebody told them about the Canadian winters, so I won't be getting all of them."
"The world's leading manufacturers like Audi, Porsche, BMW, GM and Aston Martin outsource their factory motorsport programs and we are very pleased to now have Multimatic running our ALMS GT2 campaign" said Danny Panoz, President of PADC.
"Multimatic again proved its championship winning credentials this year and I recognize the importance of competition success in helping establish the Panoz brand. We all feel the intense level of responsibility associated with competing against the likes of Porsche, BMW and Ferrari. I know Larry takes this very seriously and will represent us at the highest possible level."
Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz will make its competition debut next March at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Multimatic is a privately held Canadian corporation supplying components, systems and services to the global automotive industry. The company is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and has operating divisions in North America and Europe with partners in Asia, South America and Australia.
Multimatic specializes in the manufacture of stampings, welded assemblies, mechanisms, and suspension components, as well as the design and development of automotive body and chassis systems. Multimatic uses advanced technologies to achieve outstanding product quality, delivery and functional performance.