Panoz Motor Sports names new test driver

Jeannette grabs "dream job" With Panoz Motor Sports Young 19-year-old road racing stand-out Gunnar Jeannette has been ear-marked for future stardom by leading American Le Mans Series squad, Panoz Motor Sports. Panoz has signed the Florida-born...

Jeannette grabs "dream job" With Panoz Motor Sports

Young 19-year-old road racing stand-out Gunnar Jeannette has been ear-marked for future stardom by leading American Le Mans Series squad, Panoz Motor Sports.

Panoz has signed the Florida-born Jeannette as official test driver for 2002. The young star will also contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans and may also climb aboard the Panoz LMP-1 for the Sebring 12 Hour and Petit Le Mans events.

The youngest ever finisher at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000, Jeannette has relocated from West Palm Beach in Florida to Gainsville, Georgia to take up his new duties.

In addition to his testing schedule, Jeannette also will serve as an instructor at the Panoz Racing School located at Road Atlanta.

The son of renown historic racing Porsche restorer, Kevin Jeannette, Gunnar made his road racing debut at Road Atlanta in 1999 aboard 911 and 935 historic Porsches.

After making a name for himself aboard machinery that was much older than him, Jeanette stepped up to modern machinery in 2000, teaming up with actor-racer, Paul Newman at the Daytona 24 Hour.

In two trips to the 24 Hour of Le Mans, Jeannette finished on both occasions, finishing 2nd in class and 7th overall last year.

"Gunnar has not only showed tremendous ability but has a unique maturity for somebody so young," Don Panoz said.

"In his outings in the car so far he has done exceptionally well and we have signed him with an eye to the future. He will be able to learn a great deal from our existing drivers and I am sure he will become a regular member of our team in the not too distant future.

"Being based in Atlanta will give him the perfect opportunity to get plenty of miles in the car."

Jeannette is eagerly awaiting the chance to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June this time in a car capable of winning the event.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for me and I really can't thank Dr Panoz enough," Jeanette said.

"To go to Le Mans in a front running car that could actually win is stuff that dreams are made of. This is what I have been aiming for, but I never believed the chance would come along so soon this really is such an honor."

While Jeannette will only contest selected races for Panoz this season, the young protege will attend all races in the American Le Mans Series with the team.

"This is really exciting for me because I have never had to chance to spend an entire year with a team it has always been odd races here and there," Jeannette said.

"I am really looking to learn as much as I can. To get to work with guys like David (Brabham), Jan (Magnussen), Bryan (Herta) and Terry (Borcheller) will be a huge boost for my career."

"I got the chance to test the car before Christmas which was a major bonus in itself. The car felt fantastic and obviously Dr Panoz liked what he saw."

"I can't thank him enough this is the biggest thing that has ever happened in my life."

Jeannette has joined his team-mates today in a three-day test at Sebring hosted by Michelin this week

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Paul Newman , Gunnar Jeannette , Don Panoz