CHAMPCAR/CART: Elan Motorsports Technologies new chassis

ELAN MOTORSPORTS TECHNOLOGIES TO BECOME EXCLUSIVE CHAMP CAR CHASSIS PROVIDER BRASELTON, Ga. (October 11, 2005) - Achieving a vision Don Panoz had when he founded the company, Elan Motorsports Technologies was named today by Champ Car as the ...

ELAN MOTORSPORTS TECHNOLOGIES TO BECOME EXCLUSIVE CHAMP CAR CHASSIS PROVIDER

BRASELTON, Ga. (October 11, 2005) - Achieving a vision Don Panoz had when he founded the company, Elan Motorsports Technologies was named today by Champ Car as the exclusive provider of chassis for the open-wheel series beginning in 2007.

The Panoz DP01 chassis built by EMT will be coupled with a beefed-up 775 horsepower, turbo-charged Ford-Cosworth engine on every Champ Car beginning in 2007. The announcement is the latest achievement for EMT, which is positioning itself as a global leader in automotive design.

"We are overwhelmed with enthusiasm and pride to be selected as the exclusive builder of the next generation Champ Car," said David Bowes, Chief Executive Officer of Elan Motorsports Technologies, Inc. "At the outset of the process, Champ Car sought RFPs from seven manufacturers. The selection of EMT to design, build and service the new Champ Car reconfirms our position worldwide as a premier provider of chassis as well as motorsports technology and establishes our dominance in North America."

The new chassis and engine combination reflects the ongoing commitment by the Champ Car World Series, its owners, management and manufacturers to the long-term health and success of the series. The package ensures a level playing field for every team and driver in the series while providing a stable technology and rules package for the future of Champ Car.

"This selection fulfills a vision that Don Panoz had eight years ago when he made a commitment to build a truly world-class motorsports technology company in Braselton, Ga.," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of Panoz Motor Sports Group, to which EMT belongs. "After an exhaustive analysis, Champ Car came to recognize not only the technical capabilities offered by EMT but also its unprecedented ability to provide a level of service, quality control and accessibility that can only be offered by a North American-based company."

The new Panoz DP01 chassis retains some of the current Champ Car identity, allowing fans to recognize a style that has made the series a worldwide favorite. EMT's cutting-edge technology, however, incorporates many new chassis design elements, and aerodynamic and safety features into the overall package to make the car more suited for the urban tracks that play host to Champ Car's highly successful three-day events that have become hallmarks of the series.

Lighter and smaller in length and width than the current Champ Car chassis, the Panoz DP01 provides a more nimble and quicker race car, putting a driver's skills at a premium. The lighter car, combined with an increase in power provided by the Ford-Cosworth engines, means teams will have to rely on the drivers even more to achieve maximum performance.

In addition, the aerodynamic changes that EMT has incorporated into the design will include larger underbody tunnels coupled with reduced front and rear wing loadings. A combination of the two yields the same downforce levels as the current car, but with a smaller turbulent wake, designed to create better opportunities for overtaking. While the conceptual design will be evaluated with full-car CFD (computational fluid dynamics), final surface definition will follow an extensive wind tunnel program, running a 50 percent scale model in a rolling road wind tunnel. Another new feature, the onboard starter, will allow for less yellow-flag time during events. Other new innovations include upgrades to the head surround and seat-back areas and increased leg padding for driver safety. A collapsible steering column, new side intrusion construction, and a two-stage nose crush and rear crash structure also are incorporated into the Panoz DP01 design.

"We are extremely excited about the potential that the Panoz DP01 chassis built by Elan Motorsports Technologies and the Ford-Cosworth engine bring to the Champ Car World Series," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "This combination benefits Champ Car by providing not only a strong package for our current teams, but also by giving prospective teams an opportunity to be competitive right away."

EMT has a rich history of designing high-performance race cars, from the Panoz Esperante GTLM that competes in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series to the Indy Racing League's Panoz G-Force chassis that has won two Indianapolis 500 championships: Gil de Ferran in 2003 and Buddy Lazier in 2004. This season, Scott Dixon (Watkins Glen) and Scott Sharp (Kentucky Speedway) have driven their G-Force chassis to victory in the IRL this season. Panoz G-Force drivers took four of the top 10 spots in this year's running of the Indy 500, including a runner-up finish by Vitor Meira and a fourth-place result by rookie phenom Danica Patrick.

In the ALMS, the Panoz Esperante GTLM of Bill Auberlen and Robin Liddell scored a landmark victory in April's Grand Prix of Atlanta for the car's first GT2 class victory, dethroning a field full of Porsches for the win. EMT also recently announced that Team LNT will field two factory Esperante GTLMs next season with the aim of competing in most major European sports car series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

EMT's success isn't limited to just the race track. It also is involved in a number of other technological ventures including aerospace (aircraft parts), Leisure (racing simulators for destination amusement venues), as well as high-tech communications equipment (carbon fiber satellite communications dishes) and such non-automotive items as composite ice skates.

Champ Car, purchased by Kevin Kalkhoven, Jerry Forsyth and Paul Gentilozzi in 2003, features some of the world's greatest race car drivers competing on such diverse environs as oval circuits, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. It has produced such stars as Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia, Alex Tagliani and 2004 Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger.

About Panoz Motor Sports Group
The Panoz Motor Sports Group is an entity composed of many of the motorsports holdings of Don Panoz. With headquarters in Braselton, Ga., PMSG includes several racing series and tracks, as well as a racing school in multiple locations. Branches of PMSG include Elan Motorsports Technologies, the American Le Mans Series, Sebring International Raceway, Road Atlanta, Mosport International Raceway, Panoz Racing Series and Panoz Racing School.

About Elan Motorsports Technologies
Founded in 1997, Élan Motorsports Technologies set out to acquire and cultivate the best technical, manufacturing and design experts under one roof. Elan Precision Products is responsible for an array of critical components such as front and rear wishbones, uprights, pushrods, toelinks and roll hoops. In addition, Élan Precision Products supplies and supports individual IRL teams, Star Mazda, SCCA, Van Diemen and Panoz Esperante customers with parts that meet the highest standards as only EMT requires. Élan Power Products provides comprehensive, innovative engine building development and management programs that can be supported for projects in any racing environment around the world. Élan Composites is recognized as one of the leading authorities of carbon composite technology, gaining its reputation not only in the development of carbon composites but also in the design of complex tools, moulds and fixtures used in the manufacturing process. Elan Motorsports Design and Engineering takes initial concepts from the CAD screen and FEA analysis to wind-tunnel testing, all the way through production and to the racetrack. Van Diemen, acquired by EMT in 1999, is the world's largest volume of single-seat race cars and is respected for its engineering excellence, on-track performance and integrity for more than 30 years.

-emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Robin Liddell , Bill Auberlen , Paul Gentilozzi , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Don Panoz , Steve Johnson , Kevin Kalkhoven , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Team LNT