Portland: Multimatic/Team Panoz race report

MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ FACE PORTLAND HEAT WAVE IN ALMS SCORCHER Portland - OR (July 24th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz again suffered in the heat wave that has gripped the US after a disappointing day in the latest round...

MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ FACE PORTLAND HEAT WAVE IN ALMS SCORCHER

Portland - OR (July 24th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz again suffered in the heat wave that has gripped the US after a disappointing day in the latest round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway.

The two Panoz Esperante GTLM machines finished 6th and 9th in the GT2 class with soaring temperatures of more than 100 degrees leaving the drivers badly struggling for grip.

The American young-gun duo of Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner fared the better of the Panoz pack after Milner dodged the turn one opening lap contact between a BMW and Ferrari GT2 cars.

Milner was able to make up some ground after shortcutting the chicane to avoid a collision.

Scott Maxwell was not as fortunate, dropping spots when he had to take the long way round.

With the team struggling to find a Pirelli compound suited to the low-grip, high-temperature Portland surface, both cars suffered a performance drop after 10-15 laps.

Maxwell and team-mate David Brabham's chances were also ruined after a yellow flag safety car period put them a lap adrift of most of their competitors after they had just been passed by the outright race leader.

Milner and Jeannette escaped that fate and Milner later held on strong at the race finish, keeping the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche at bay.

The Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz squad will now turn its attention to a major tire test with team partner Pirelli at Road Atlanta in Georgia from August 1 to 3.

"The hot weather has not been kind to our team and Pirelli in the past two races but we will be working hard in Atlanta to improve that for the remaining rounds of the championship," Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

"We are very pleased with the overall performance and reliability of the Panoz, but Portland is a low grip place on the best of days -- even worse when it was as hot as this. Every car out there was struggling for grip but we just struggled a little more than our competitors in GT2.

"The team worked very hard with Pirelli to find a solution for the weekend but the level of grip really deteriorated after 15 laps.

"Pirelli are as disappointed as we were with the results and we will both be working very hard in Atlanta to find some better solutions. We had a great tire at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway last year so I am confident we should be back challenging at the front of the pack in the races ahead."

David Brabham
"It was a bit frustrating not having the grip we wanted but the upcoming test will be very important for us.

"We have lots of stuff we are wanting to try on the car to move forward and get the Panoz back to the front of the pack.

"The test will be really good preparation for Road America. That really is one of the greatest tracks in North America and I have won there before in a Ferrari so I always look forward to going back.

"But the Porsche guys have a pretty significant straight line advantage at the moment so that could be an issue at Road America."

Scott Maxwell
"That was my first visit to Portland and I have to say it probably isn't high on my list of favorite tracks after a day like today

"The hot weather didn't do us any favors at all but the test in Atlanta will give the team and Pirelli a good chance to regroup and set our sights on working our way back up the timesheet.

"The positive aspect is the car ran perfectly. We had no reliability problems at all which is very pleasing.

"The Multimatic guys have worked very hard all week and I am confident we will see some better results in the races ahead."

Gunnar Jeannette
"The car was a little racy for the first few laps but then the levels of grip really went away with the heat.

"The good thing is I am sure we probably won't get two races like Salt Lake City and Portland where it is so hot, but Pirelli will have a number of options for us in the next few weeks to try and bridge the gap to the Porsches, BMWs and the Ferrari.

"I'm looking forward to the Road America round -- it really is a fantastic circuit and the Panoz qualified pretty well last year so I am confident Tom and I can challenge strongly."

Tom Milner
"I made up a bit of ground off the start when I followed Bill Auberlen through turn one. I think he may have made contact with the Ferrari and we came out 3rd on the opening lap.

"But the heat really wasn't kind to us and Pirelli. At the end when I got back in the car I was just trying to hold on and keep the #23 behind me.

"We didn't have the best of days but it was interesting to do my first race at Portland. It is a pretty tough place to pass on except for turn one or at the end of the back straight. Gunnar and I didn't have the best of days but I am looking forward to coming back here when it is a bit cooler -- that should be a lot more fun."

-www.multimaticmotorsports.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Bill Auberlen , Scott Maxwell , Gunnar Jeannette , Alex Job
Teams Multimatic Motorsports , Alex Job Racing