Panoz Esperante GT-LM maiden test at Road Atlanta

EMT-built Panoz Esperante GT-LM has maiden test at Road Atlanta. BRASELTON,Ga.- The new Panoz Esperante GT-LM American Le Mans Series race car, built by Elan Motorsports Technologies (EMT), turned its maiden laps Thursday and Friday in a testing...

EMT-built Panoz Esperante GT-LM has maiden test at Road Atlanta.

BRASELTON,Ga.- The new Panoz Esperante GT-LM American Le Mans Series race car, built by Elan Motorsports Technologies (EMT), turned its maiden laps Thursday and Friday in a testing session at Road Atlanta.

The car was built to race later this year in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series, which opens its 2004 campaign with the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.

"I was very impressed with the way the car performed," said Scott Maxwell, a veteran sports car racer from Toronto who drove the car in the test session. "The car did everything a competitive GT sports car is supposed to, and with no problems whatsoever. For a brand new race car that has never turned a wheel before today, that is an excellent start."

"This evolution of the Esperante design has come a long way from the first generation that raced last year," said Maxwell. "I think this car has outstanding competitive potential."

Based on the Panoz Esperante road car built by Panoz Auto Development, the GT-LM is powered by a 4.6 litre modular V-8 engine from Elan Power Products. Maxwell put the car through two days of rigorous shakedown runs, turning laps on the full 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit as well as a smaller circuit inside the main course.

Though no official lap times were released from the private test session, EMT CEO David Bowes was happy with the results.

"Our guys have been working long hours to get the car ready to test, and seeing it performing flawlessly on the track was a big payback for their hard work," said Bowes.

"This car contains all of the proven components of the first-generation Esperante GT-LM and incorporates countless improvements that immediately will make the car more competitive.

"From the designers, engineers, crew and driver, everyone was smiling today," he said.

-alms-

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Series ALMS