MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ SET HOPES ON A COOL DAY IN PORTLAND Portland - OR (July 18th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz crew members are hoping the weather-man has got it slightly wrong when the American Le Mans Series visits ...
MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ SET HOPES ON A COOL DAY IN PORTLAND
Portland - OR (July 18th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz crew members are hoping the weather-man has got it slightly wrong when the American Le Mans Series visits Portland International Raceway this weekend for the Portland Grand Prix Presented by Les Schwab.
After battling temperatures in excess of 100 degrees at Salt Lake City last weekend, similar conditions are predicted for Portland with an expected high of 96 listed for Saturday.
The chance of slightly cooler conditions for the 6pm race start would help the Toronto-based squad which recorded 5th (Brabham/Maxwell) and 7th (Jeannette/Milner) place finishes at Salt Lake City's debut event.
Portland has been a happy hunting ground for the Panoz marque in previous years with Brabham and then-teammate Jan Magnussen winning the 2001 round aboard the LMP-01 prototype.
That victory did not come without a major scare at the race finish with Magnussen locking up all four tires in a huge plume of smoke as he went past the crew -- only to realize he hadn't reached the finish line yet.
The Dane had to get back on the accelerator and beat the chasing Audi by only .374 of a second.
While the #50 and #51 Panoz Esperante GTLM machines did not possess the outright pace at Salt Lake City, Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt is confident of a strong showing in the Pacific North-West.
"Obviously we were not happy to finish 5th and 7th in GT2 but the pleasing thing is the cars ran absolutely faultlessly all weekend -- our reliability was exceptional," Holt said.
"The guys drove the cars right to the edge all weekend but we just couldn't squeeze enough speed to chase down the Porsches and the Ferrari.
"Gunnar made a storming start and raced the wheels of the thing -- he really did everything in his power to hold the pack at bay. It really was a very impressive 40 minutes.
"Maxwell and Brabham's times were virtually within a 10th of a second throughout their entire stints -- with the understeer they had there just wasn't any way we could mask that at such a long circuit.
"Tom actually scored the fastest lap of the four guys -- it was another very good performance.
"The late race yellow didn't help either because we basically lost a lap at that stage. The race leader was between us and the 4th placed car so they were able to come around to the back of the pack.
"We had a track temperature of 135 degrees at Salt Lake which really took the edge off our performance. Hopefully the weather-man has got it slightly wrong in Portland this week and we can challenge more strongly."
"The car felt really good but we just lacked some front grip. We also couldn't push too hard because of a bit of graining on the left front tire.
"Scotty and I also missed one session in the build up to the race because of an electrical problem and that left us playing catch-up a bit.
"I was very impressed with what they have done at the new facility but the track was probably one of the most difficult I have had to learn because there are so few reference points.
"The heat didn't help us either. I am looking forward to Portland however because the Panoz brand has had a lot of success there before so hopefully we will be a lot closer to the pace."
"Everything went to plan on the day and the car ran very well but we just didn't have the outright speed in Salt Lake City.
"All in all it was a pretty uneventful race with not a lot of traffic.
"We just didn't have the speed we needed. The reliability was excellent but we just lacked overall grip.
"I think the car will be more effective in slightly cooler conditions.
"Portland should be a lot better for us because it certainly couldn't get any hotter than what it was at Salt Lake."
"I had a great start but I was soon holding everyone up pretty badly. I drove pretty defensively but it was a challenge to hold them off forever because there are a lot of passing opportunities around Salt Lake City.
"It was certainly fun racing with those guys -- it would have been nice to have a little more speed but we lacked some front grip and downforce.
"The good thing for the guys is the cars got through the weekend without a mark on them and we are now well prepared for Portland.
"It was great for Tom and I to have a complete race without any problems or contact -- this week we will aim to continue that and challenge for the podium."
"We probably had the fifth fastest car all week and Gunnar made a brilliant start to mix it at the front.
"I basically ran the entire race at Salt Lake out on my own. The yellow flag at the end didn't help us because the lead guys stole the best of a lap on us at that stage.
"Right at end of the race I think I had a wheel start to come loose which caused me to have a couple of big 'moments' in turn one.
"I let David by towards the end and then got pushed wide by an Aston Martin which let one of the BMWs sneak through.
"I have never driven at Portland before but I am looking forward to it. I have been to a few races there so it will be great to actually get out on track."