THE VISTEON PANOZ RACING TEAM WINS AT LIME ROCK LIME ROCK, Conn., May 25 -- Despite threatening weather, the Visteon Panoz Racing Team claimed its first overall and fourth straight class victory in the GT1 class in this afternoon's Virgin ...
THE VISTEON PANOZ RACING TEAM WINS AT LIME ROCK
LIME ROCK, Conn., May 25 -- Despite threatening weather, the Visteon Panoz Racing Team claimed its first overall and fourth straight class victory in the GT1 class in this afternoon's Virgin Interactive GT Race, part of the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock. This comes after three class wins at the 12 Hours at Sebring, Nevada Grand Prix, and the 1998 Sports Car Extravaganza at Homestead.
Driven by Andy Wallace and David Brabham, the #4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 finished first overall and first in the GT1 class. David Brabham shattered the GT1 record for fastest race lap with a time of 51.687 seconds at 107.261 mph. Irv Hoerr set the previous record in 1995 with a 54.410 second at 101.893 mph.
Andy Wallace, the first driver of the #4 Visteon Panoz, had some trouble soon after the race started. "I struggled a bit to get a balance on the car," he said, "and as a result I came in at the first caution and handed the car to David, who did a very good job."
"The Michelin tires were very good today," said David Brabham, second driver of the #4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1. "The Visteon Panoz ran very well and I had no problems at all. The Visteon Panoz Racing Team did an excellent job -- they are getting better and better at every race. That's a good omen for our next race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans."
The #5 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 driven by Eric Bernard and Raul Boesel finished second. The #5 started on pole and, driven by Eric Bernard, broke the qualifying track record for GT1 with a time of 51.118 seconds at 108.45 mph. The previous record holder was Darin Brassfield, who qualified in 1995 with a 53.249 second at 104.114 mph.
"The Visteon Panoz was very good for the race -- we made the right adjustments to the car during the practice sessions," said Eric Bernard, the first driver of the #5 Visteon Panoz GTR-1. "Other than a little mistake in the beginning of the race when I went off track (on lap 11), the car was perfect. I'm especially happy for the #4 Visteon Panoz drivers, Andy and David. For the #5, it's a good second place and a great result for the Visteon Panoz Racing Team."
Raul Boesel, the second driver of the #5 Visteon Panoz GTR-1, had a busy weekend, piloting the #30 Beloit/Fast Rod/Team Losi/McCormack Motorsports G-Force/Aurora in the 1998 Indianapolis 500 as well as driving for the Visteon Panoz Racing Team. "I had a lot to do this weekend, driving in both the Indianapolis 500 and Lime Rock," he said. "But when I arrived at the track this morning, I found that the Visteon Panoz Racing Team was ready for me. We had a good race today and the Visteon Panoz was very strong."
Tony Dowe, managing director, Panoz Motor Sports was very happy with this weekend's efforts. "It was a good result, and the team worked very hard for it," he said.
"I'm thrilled for our fourth straight victory, especially at a historically significant track like Lime Rock," said Don Panoz, founder, Panoz Motor Sports. "The Visteon Panoz Racing Team is strong, and we're ready for Le Mans."
Two Visteon Panoz GTR-1s will lead the Visteon Panoz Racing Team's 1998 assault on the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 6 and 7. Visteon Panoz #44 will be entered by the French DAMS team, which is participating in the FIA GT Championship. It will be piloted by Eric Bernard (FR), Christophe Tinseau (FR), and Johnny O'Connell (USA). David Brabham (AUS), Andy Wallace (GB), and Jamie Davies (GB) will anchor the second Visteon Panoz, #45, entered by Panoz Motor Sports U.S.
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