Road America: Multimatic/Team Panoz race report

MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ OUT OF LUCK AT ROAD AMERICA Elkhart Lake - WI (August 21st, 2006) After a day filled with misfortune at Road America yesterday, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has its sights set on a change of luck when the...

MULTIMATIC MOTORSPORTS TEAM PANOZ OUT OF LUCK AT ROAD AMERICA

Elkhart Lake - WI (August 21st, 2006) After a day filled with misfortune at Road America yesterday, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has its sights set on a change of luck when the American Le Mans Series heads across the border for the Mosport round of the championship in two week's time.

The two Panoz Esperante GTLM machines finished 8th and 9th in class at Road America after a drama filled day which left both the #50 car of David Brabham and Scott Maxwell and the #51 machine of Gunnar Jeanette and Tom Milner nine laps adrift of the GT2 class winner.

Brabham's problems began on the opening lap when his engine began to misfire in top gear. The problem robbed the #50 car of straight-line speed and to make matters worse -- the Australian ace was unable to communicate the problem to the Multimatic Panoz crew due to a radio malfunction.

The #50 car pitted at the first yellow flag period after 27 minutes, but the team were unable to find the source of the problem which was gradually getting worse with each lap.

After a long safety car period, Tom Milner charged into the GT2 class lead on the restart, passing the Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller.

However, his moment of glory at the front of the pack was relatively short lived. Milner had dropped back to 4th after nine minutes but then had contact with the #61 Ferrari of Toni Vilander at Canada corner -- forcing the Panoz off into the gravel trap.

Milner limped the #51 car back to pit lane and the team faced a lengthy 18-minute stop to repair damage to the car before Gunnar Jeannette was able to rejoin the race -- several laps adrift.

The team's fortunes were not getting much better for the #50 car. Brabham pitted after 72 minutes and handed over to Maxwell while the Multimatic Panoz crew spent four minutes trying to find the source of the misfire.

Both Maxwell and Jeannette charged on during the middle period of the race but neither was able to peg back the time lost from the unscheduled lengthy stops.

Jeannette returned to the pits after two hours and eight minutes for Milner to climb back aboard but disaster struck shortly after for Maxwell when the #50 car broke a throttle cable.

Fortunately for the Canadian, the car was stuck on idle and Maxwell was able to get the car back to pit lane. Swift work by the Panoz crew pushed the car back out on track after a six-minute stop.

Both cars made it to the checkered flag -- nine laps adrift of GT2 class winners, the Petersen Motorsport/White Lightning Racing Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.

The Toronto-based Multimatic squad now intends to test at its home circuit at Mosport prior to the forthcoming round of the American Le Mans Series at the former home of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix.

Drivers

David Brabham

"I got to turn two on the opening lap when the engine stopped pulling properly in top gear.

"To make matters worse I also had a radio problem so I couldn't tell the guys what was going on. I had to give the throttle a blip or two as I went past the pits so they had some idea what was happening.

"We think it was something electrical but it just kept getting worse and worse. The car actually wasn't too bad apart from that. We had a bit of understeer in the carousel but that was the only other problem.

"Once Scotty had the throttle cable break and we had a long stop, we just worked on trying to get the car to the finish."

Scott Maxwell

"I can't wait to get to Mosport because we are certainly due for some good luck and I couldn't think of a better place for us to have that luck arrive.

"We are going to test before the race so that will be good for us.

"Mosport is obviously a track I know exceptionally well and we will have the home crowd on our side for Multimatic and myself.

"When the cable broke I was flat on the throttle and the pedal just stayed on the floor and the car stayed on idle. I just had to keep the car rolling along in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear to get the car back to the pits. It was bit hairy with cars belting past at full speed while I was just rolling along. I was a bit worried about getting the car up the hill to the pits but it made it."

Gunnar Jeannette

"It was a bit unfortunate what happened to Tom but that really ended our day early. You can't lose that much time in the pits in these sprint races. If today was a 10 or 12 hour race -- you can sometimes have a problem like that and bounce back but not in a sprint.

"For my stint I was just trying to go as fast as I could but keep out of everyone's way.

"The car actually felt not too bad but our luck certainly deserted us.

"I think everyone on the team is really looking forward to Mosport. Hopefully we can bounce back with a good result there -- that will set us up well for the final two races at Petit Le Mans and Mazda Raceway."

Tom Milner

"It was great to lead a couple of laps but the day certainly didn't end up as we planned.

"Initially I thought the Ferrari had made a bit of a dive to get past because when I checked the mirrors as I hit the braking zone he still hadn't made a move.

"But then I turned in and bang -- he was already there. The vision out of the Panoz is not good at the best of times but I just got caught out this time.

"We lost a bunch of time because there was a fair amount of damage which the guys had to fix.

"I did my first ever race for Multimatic at Mosport last year in a Mustang Grand-Am Cup car and ended up on the podium, so hopefully our fortunes will turn and we can repeat that in two weeks."

-credit: www.multimaticmotorsports.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Maxwell , Gunnar Jeannette , Patrick Long , Mike Rockenfeller , Toni Vilander
Teams Multimatic Motorsports