Panoz Petit Le Mans preview

Braselton, GA., 28th September 2001. The two scarlet Panoz LMP-1 Roadster prototype race cars will be right up among the front runners in an all-star, multi-national field of sports cars and drivers in next weekend's 4th running of the Petit Le...

Braselton, GA., 28th September 2001. The two scarlet Panoz LMP-1 Roadster prototype race cars will be right up among the front runners in an all-star, multi-national field of sports cars and drivers in next weekend's 4th running of the Petit Le Mans event, the final round of the 2001 American Le Mans Series.

The 10 hour or 1,000 racing miles endurance event (whichever comes first) features many of the same drivers and race cars that compete in the world's most famous sports car race -- the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The US event takes place at Panoz's home track of Road Atlanta, Ga., and begins at 12 noon on Saturday, 6th October. The race will therefore finish in darkness, an added challenge to competitors.

Redeveloped three years ago by circuit owner Don Panoz, the Road Atlanta 2.54 mile track has a classic mixture of fast straights, sweeping bends and tight corners with rapid changes in gradient. The excellent spectator facilities and superb viewing ensure a big crowd so there's always a great atmosphere.

While an intimate knowledge of the track and a string of excellent results since July (including victories at Portland and Mid-Ohio) are undoubted plus points for the team's four drivers, the talented and experienced international line-up are all aware that they face strong competition.

Australian David Brabham, who lives near Maidenhead in the UK, has driven for Panoz Motor Sports since its inception in 1997 and looks forward to this event with great anticipation. "For sure the pressure is on, for all of us in the team, almost because it's our home event rather than despite it being so. Any endurance event is full of unpredictability and unknowns, but we are well prepared, have strong engine reliability from our Elan Power Products-prepared 6 liter V8s, and the consistently excellent Michelin tires. Since re-introducing the Roadsters mid season, we have gained momentum steadily and that top step of the podium is waiting for us again!

"Road Atlanta is not too difficult a circuit to set the car up for. It's very fast, with only really one slow corner and the chicane. It's quite unusual to have such a hilly circuit but it's great, I love it -- as do Jan, Franck and Klaus. A lot of the corners are blind so you have to really commit yourself to the corner in the hope that your judgement is right. When you have done a good lap round there it's very satisfying."

"As Panoz's home track, team members' families enjoy a rare opportunity to see their partners in action, and everyone will be looking for a repeat of our 1999 victory which, as a bonus, gives automatic entry to next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans."

Brabham will co-drive car #50 with Denmark's Jan Magnussen who now lives in Gainesville, Ga., while car #51 will be driven by France's Franck Lagorce and Germany's Klaus Graf.

The Speedvision television network will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the event starting at 11:30 a.m. on race day, and the American Le Mans radio web will also be broadcasting live on www.americanlemans.com.

-PMS-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Klaus Graf , Franck Lagorce , Don Panoz