JML Team Panoz preview

JML TEAM PANOZ AIM FOR SURPRISE RESULT AT LE MANS JML Team Panoz may not be regarded as outright favorites for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the Braselton, Georgia-based team has its sights set on surprising the opposition in this year's...

JML TEAM PANOZ AIM FOR SURPRISE RESULT AT LE MANS

JML Team Panoz may not be regarded as outright favorites for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the Braselton, Georgia-based team has its sights set on surprising the opposition in this year's 80th running of the French classic.

The privateer Panoz squad kicked off the season with both cars finishing in the top 10 at Sebring and all six drivers are determined to top the previous best finish of a Panoz LMP at Le Mans of 5th place in 2000.

The #11 Panoz LMP-01 will be driven by Olivier Beretta (Monaco), Gunnar Jeannette (USA) and Max Papis (Italy) while the #12 squad includes Scott Maxwell (Canada), David Saelens (Belgium) and Benjamin Leuenberger (Switzerland).

The founder of the Panoz marque, Don Panoz, has been honored by event organizers the ACO and will be the Grand Marshall for the race which kicks off at 4.00pm local time on Saturday.

OLIVIER BERETTA

"Le Mans is obviously a huge event, it is the biggest race of the year.

It is very important to do well, but we have a good team and good car and hopefully we can repeat the result from Sebring.

The car was very good at the pre-qualifying weekend and had no reliability problems at all. Michelin did a fantastic job for us as always and we surprised a few people.

We had the opportunity to run all day and collect lots of data which was a big bonus for the team.

Experience is very important at a race like this. I have been lucky to have won twice here in GTS and have always done well here.

But Le Mans is all about the team. Any little problem in the pits can make a big difference. If you lose 5 or 6 seconds, it is very hard to make that up on the track. It doesn’t sound like much, but it really adds up over 24 hours."

GUNNAR JEANNETTE

"I am very excited to be here for the fourth time in a row. I have been lucky to have been on the podium here in a different class and to be on the podium in the outright class would certainly be the best reuslt of my career.

I really think that is something which is very achievable if we have a bit of luck on our side.

This is such an amazing place. There is so much history and the atmosphere and the fans is what really makes this place so great.

There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. I always love coming back to Le Mans and obviously to win it would be the highlight of my career."

MAX PAPIS

"I am delighted to be back at Le Mans this year. JML Team Panoz is a great American team running very unique American cars which are loved by all the fans.

"We have a very good group of drivers and people behind the scenes and I really looking forward to coming home with a good result.

The car was a lot quicker than a lot of us expected at the pre-qualifying weekend and now we have to work very hard this weekend on ensuring the car is reliable and making it as comfortable as we can for the race conditions.

Panoz has a best finish of 5th here and I finished 6th in a Ferrari the last time I raced here, so I would love to beat both those marks."

SCOTT MAXWELL

"I really can't wait for this weekend. This is my best chance yet of an outright win and we have a very reliable car, so there is a lot to look forward to.

The history of this race is really what makes it so special. The track is very unique and still retains the same character from 40 or 50 years ago despite any changes that have been made - there is not many places left like that.

Endruance racing is all about the team - it is not about one guy - there are twenty guys here all working very hard to get a result.

Our tire package with Michelin is also a very strong part of the package."

DAVID SAELENS

"Coming to Le Mans for the first time for pre-qualifying was amazing. The circuit is fabulous - the first lap was something I will never forget. You feel like a 15 year old boy again.

It was really amazing. There is no other track like it. It takes a lot of time to learn the circuit because it is so long, but when you put in a good lap it is a very good feeling.

I have been counting down the days to come back to Le Mans. I am really looking forward to the race. I think we have a very good chance of success.

Everybody on the team is very motivated and I have been training very hard. Fitness is going to be a real key over 24 hours."

BENJAMIN LEUENBERGER

"It always has been a dream for me to drive at Le Mans and I couldn't believe the first lap I did in pre-qual - it was amazing.

The track is really unique, you can never find anything else like it. The last five weeks seem to have taken forever - I have been waiting for this week for so long.

The fact I am in a Panoz in the top class is also an amazing opportunity. The team is far more professional than any team I have been with before.

Everybody works so hard and is so motivated. It is a real pleasure to work with these guys."

-pmg/pr-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers David Saelens , Max Papis , Don Panoz , Benjamin Leuenberger , Olivier Beretta