Noske set for Panoz drive

Talented young Australian star Mark Noske has been selected by one of the world's leading sportscar teams to drive in the Le Mans Series championship grand finale in Adelaide in December. Noske will drive a third Panoz LMP-1 prototype at the...

Talented young Australian star Mark Noske has been selected by one of the world's leading sportscar teams to drive in the Le Mans Series championship grand finale in Adelaide in December.

Noske will drive a third Panoz LMP-1 prototype at the Adelaide event on New Year's Eve.

While Australia is represented in the championship by Panoz lead driver David Brabham and the Porsche GT class team of Rohan Skea, Noske is the first local star to be selected to drive in the outright prototype division.

Noske came to attention of team owner and Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz in Adelaide earlier this year with a stunning debut drive in a Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge in the GTP Nation's Cup class.

His winning ways on the streets of Adelaide have resulted in the Melbourne driver being picked to drive alongside one of the Panoz team's regular endurance drivers.

German Klaus Graf, or Frenchman and ex-Formula One driver, Piere-Henri Raphanel are two of the regular Panoz endurance event drivers in line to join Noske in the third Panoz.

The team's regular stars David Brabham and Jan Magnussen will drive the lead Panoz with Japanese rising star Hiroki Katoh and American Johnny O'Connell in the second machine.

"I was very impressed with Mark's efforts when I saw him race the Ferrari in Adelaide earlier this year and we are delighted to welcome him aboard," Panoz said.

"He was fast and aggressive in the Ferrari which is not an easy car to drive. We met while I was there for the Clipsal 500 and I was very impressed with his attitude and talent.

"From having David Brabham in our team, I know there is some great talent coming out of Australia and I always had the idea to give a young guy a chance on home soil.

"Young people can really shine when given the right opportunity. We have seen the same thing this year with Hiroki Katoh in our team. He has come along in leaps and bounds this year and I am sure Mark will make the most of this opportunity.

"Having another Australian in the race will also give the local fans something to cheer for."

Noske is delighted with the chance to drive one of the fastest and most successful sportscars in the world.

"It's a great honour to be chosen as the first local Australian driver for the Le Mans race in Adelaide," Noske said.

"Obviously it will be an exciting event to be involved in, and the opportunity to drive along side the likes of Brabham and Magnussen is fantastic.

"I'd really like to thank Panoz for giving me this opportunity: I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be on New Year's Eve."

Noske's race chance was announced in Melbourne today at Prancing Horse Automobiles in Richmond - the headquarters of the Prancing Horse Racing Ferrari GTP Nation's Cup team that the young driver regularly competes for.

Le Mans Adelaide Executive Director and Operations Manager, Mr Rob Curkpatrick, is delighted with the additional boost of having another Australian racer in the field.

"Bringing a guy like Mark into our event will be a major boost for the Race of a Thousand Years," Curkpatrick said.

"Having David Brabham in the field has been a real bonus, but to now have a young driver who is based here in Australia is fantastic.

"Our big task with this event is to teach the race fans what Le Mans style racing is all about. The more names in the event they recognise, the more Aussie flags we will see waving on New Year's Eve.

"This event is going to be an amazing spectacle and I am sure that Mark will make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

"The Panoz cars are going to be a real crowd favourite, and having two Aussies on their team is sure to get the crowd excited."

The championship is looming as a three-way showdown between Audi, BMW and Panoz with the title likely to be decided in Adelaide.

Le Mans style racing features three different classes competing in the one race, Prototypes (Panoz, Audi, BMW, Cadillac), GTS (Dodge Viper, Corvette, Porsche) and the production based GT class (BMW and Porsche).

The Adelaide event will be an outstanding New Year's Eve party with planning underway on fashion parades, food and wine exhibitions, street parties, fireworks displays, on-track entertainment and a spectacular after-race concert celebration.

Paul Ryan

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Klaus Graf , Johnny O'Connell , Ryan Paul , Don Panoz , Mark Noske , Hiroki Katoh

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