Crysler to test, Panoz has new drivers

The Mopar V8 powered Chrysler LMP will begin testing next month in Spain, in the hands of four-times Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas. Chrysler's bid to win the 24-Hours of Le Mans has involved a switch from Reynard chassis to Dallara, and since...

The Mopar V8 powered Chrysler LMP will begin testing next month in Spain, in the hands of four-times Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas. Chrysler's bid to win the 24-Hours of Le Mans has involved a switch from Reynard chassis to Dallara, and since June the 6-litre Mopar V8 engine has been extensively revised by specialist John Caldwell.

David Brabham and Jan Magnussen are confirmed for Panoz Motorsports' lead car next year at Le Mans, and in the American Le Mans Series, but two newcomers will replace Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh in the second car. There is a long list of names, says team director David Price, that of JJ Lehto being at the top ("just say everyone from JJ downwards"). Price does not expect to name his team before the New Year.

However at the BMW Motorsport prizegiving in Austria at the weekend, Lehto denied having any contact with Panoz and mentioned that he and Joerg Muller expected to continue their driving partnership next year...in a Schnitzer prepared BMW M3 in the Le Mans GT category. Effectively the talented pair, who led the Le Mans Series points standings for so long this year, will slip down two categories in 2001.

Brabham and Magnussen tested the low-line Panoz LMP Roadster at Sebring last week, completing a four-day run without major problems. The 2001 model Panoz is due to be shipped to Adelaide this week for its debut appearance in the Race of a Thousand Years. Jason Bright and New Zealander Greg Murphy tested the current Panoz LMP Roadster at Sebring in readiness for Adelaide, where they will drive the third entry. According to Price "they got on really well, doing similar times and were almost as quick as David (Brabham) in the new car."

David Price Racing is likely to run a 2001 model Panoz LMP Roadster in next year's European Le Mans Series, beginning at Donington -- the venue confirmed by John Macdonald on Monday -- on Easter Saturday, 14 April. "We do have the capacity, just about, to run three new cars before Le Mans", says Price. "Don would like there to be a Panoz in the European Le Mans Series but it's up to me to run it and find the money. We are talking to Karsten Ree, he has first refusal." This opens the possibility of the Panoz being sponsored by the Den Bla Avis publishing group, and driven by John Nielsen.

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Series LEMANS