Amazing Panoz crew effort falls short at Le Mans.
Panoz Motor Sports attack on this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans came to an end at 10.45am this morning when the team's last remaining car succumbed to overheating problems.
With Gunnar Jeannette at the wheel, the #12 machine was wheeled into the garage to join the sister car in which Bryan Herta had taken the final exploratory lap moments earlier.
Both cars suffered terminal cooling problems, shattering the dreams of the Panoz crew which had put up an amazing fight to keep the cars in the race.
"We may not have won the race, but I could not be more proud of the effort our team put in," Team owner Don Panoz said.
"The effort to simply make the race was amazing. After the fire on Thursday night most teams would have thrown in the towel, but these guys are incredible.
"The fighting effort our guys put up is a real credit to them. As a team we are now even more determined to come back next year and give this race our best shot."
Overheating problems initially caused the demise of the #11 car of Herta, David Brabham and Jan Magnussen on Saturday night. After overnight repairs, Herta made one final lap aboard the car on Sunday, but the overheating problems proved to be terminal.
The #12 car of Jeannette, Bill Auberlen and David Donohue endured a tough night. Power steering failure struck during the evening and the Panoz crew also had to do two complete rear end change - a task they completed in only 20 minutes each time.
"The real positive we take away from Le Mans is the great effort that the crew put in," Herta said.
"I have been with a lot of different teams and these guys are as good as anybody. No matter what happens and what the car throws at them, they will not give up.
"Unfortunately, they had a lot more thrown at them they what we really would have wanted, but the entire team really rose to the occasion."
Panoz Motor Sports will now set its sights on the next two rounds of the American Le Mans Series at Mid Ohio on June 30 and Road America on July 7.
The team will enter the next round as the not only the reigning winner from 2001, but also the winner of the previous round of the championship at Sears Point in early May.
"Everyone is disappointed with how the weekend went here at Le Mans, but are already starting to focus heavily on the next round of the ALMS," Brabham said.
"Sears Point was a great win for the team but we know Audi will again provide fierce opposition. We will certainly be giving it our best shot."