PANOZ, MULTIMATIC JOINING FORCES FOR 2006 ESPERANTE EFFORT
Braselton, Ga. - In a move that will enhance the development and future performance of its race cars, Panoz Motor Sports has announced that Multimatic Motorsports will field the factory's pair of Panoz Esperante GTLMs in the 2006 American Le Mans Series. The Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz effort will compete in the full 10-race American Le Mans Series season.
In just its third season of competition, the Panoz Esperante GTLM showed tremendous potential. It scored an historic GT2 class victory at the Grand Prix of Atlanta as it beat Porsche, the world standard when it comes to GT2 sports car racing. The two-car Panoz effort also posted two podium finishes, including a second-place effort in the American Le Mans Series' season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and six top-five GT2 finishes during the 2005 campaign.
In Multimatic, Panoz Motor Sports gets a proven partner with a long history of success in professional sports car racing. The Toronto-based operation campaigned the Mugen-powered Panoz LMP07 in 2002 and most recently won the Grand-Am Cup championship with a Ford Mustang. Multimatic has been an active technical partner with Elan Motorsports Technologies (EMT), the constructor of the Panoz Esperante GTLM race car, in providing engineering support and a comprehensive damper (shock absorber) program.
Multimatic Motorsports is the second team to take delivery of Panoz Esperante GTLM race cars for competition in 2006. Team LNT, a top-level European racing organization, will field a pair of the cars in the Le Mans Endurance Series and potentially other sports car championships in Europe, with factory support coming from EMT.
"The combination of Team LNT in Europe and now Multimatic in North America places the Panoz brand in very capable hands, both on and off the race track," said Dr. Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series and principal behind the Panoz Esperante GTLM racing efforts.
"We are very pleased to be affiliated with these world-class organizations and expect outstanding results from both efforts in 2006 and hopefully for many seasons to come," added Panoz.
Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz will debut at the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, the first round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.
"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."
EMT will continue to develop the Panoz Esperante GTLM race cars, provide track-side technical assistance, spare parts service and a comprehensive engine development program for both Team LNT and Multimatic Motorsports. The company also will be busy with the continuing construction and servicing of the Panoz IRL chassis, the Star Mazda race car and the Formula SCCA spec racer.
"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," he added. "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."
In addition, EMT soon will begin work on the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car chassis, which will debut in 2007.
All efforts are certain to increase the awareness and profile of the Panoz Esperante race and road cars, Elan Motorsports Technologies and the overall Panoz brand around the world.
"Virtually every road car manufacturer competing in the American Le Mans Series has aligned itself with a professional racing company to administrate their racing efforts," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of Panoz Motor Sports Group, the parent company of the American Le Mans Series. "General Motors working with Pratt & Miller, Audi with Joest and Champion Racing, Porsche with Alex Job and Penske Motorsports, and Aston Martin with Prodrive are all examples of such successful arrangements. By making this move we believe Panoz confirms a similar arrangement with Multimatic. We view this as confirmation of another very strong GT2 effort for 2006 and we look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration on-track."
Multimatic Motorsports is an industry leader in Canada and is one of the most renowned racing operations in North America. Formed in 1992, Multimatic has won races around the continent and the globe, including an LMP675 class win at the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series is the premium brand of motorsport in North America, featuring high-tech sports cars from the most prestigious manufacturers in the world. Its four unique classes of competition showcase exotic, open-top prototypes and sophisticated production-based GT cars, all competing on the track at the same time. The American Le Mans Series competes at the premier road racing tracks across North America and at selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets. With a television package that includes five network broadcasts on CBS and five broadcasts on SPEED Channel, plus live broadcasts across Europe, the series delivers a global marketing platform that is unmatched in motorsports. The series, founded in 1999 by Georgia entrepreneur Don Panoz, represents a mirror image to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world's most famous and authentic automobile races. The American Le Mans Series features elite marques such as Audi, Porsche, Corvette, Aston Martin and Panoz, and premium brands such as Michelin, Pirelli, Jean-Richard Swiss Watches and many others.
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.