Team LNT and Panoz won the GT2 championship at Le Mans. Le Mans, France - Sports car racing's next generation challenger in GT competition has been born. For the first time, Panoz is a winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a historic GT2...
Team LNT and Panoz won the GT2 championship at Le Mans.
Le Mans, France - Sports car racing's next generation challenger in GT competition has been born. For the first time, Panoz is a winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a historic GT2 victory courtesy of Team LNT, a triumph to go along with a Panoz win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
"These are the two biggest sports car races in the world," said Team LNT owner and driver Lawrence Tomlinson. "We are the European distributor for the Panoz brand, and this victory will help raise the awareness of the Panoz brand in Europe and around the world. It's big, it's loud and it's American. The Esperante GTLM definitely is here to stay."
In just the second race at Le Mans for the Esperante GTLM, the Braselton, Ga.-based manufacturer took the checkered flag ahead of such established marques as Porsche, Ferrari and Spyker. Team owner Lawrence Tomlinson, Richard Dean and Tom Kimber-Smith drove the No. 81 Team LNT Panoz Esperante to a one-lap victory at Le Mans.
"The dream of winning here lives inside anyone who has entered Le Mans," Don Panoz said. "The greatest manufacturers in the world - Porsche, Audi, BMW, Ferrari and countless others - have been victorious at Le Mans and as a result are part of history. I can't begin to describe how proud and satisfied I am to see the Panoz brand alongside these elite names. This is a day I will never forget and a week to be always remembered. To be awarded the Spirit of Le Mans and winning in the same week is more than could ever be dreamed of."
The runner-up finish at Le Mans adds to the Esperante GTLM's rapidly growing legacy. The exotic front-engine coupe was a winner at the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, beating GT2 regulars Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Spyker. It also won at last year's Grand Prix of Atlanta in the American Le Mans Series and currently is second in the Series' GT2 manufacturers championship.
Even more special is that this year's Le Mans 24 Hours marked the 10th year at least one Panoz entry has competed at La Sarthe. In addition, Dr. Panoz was the recipient of the "Spirit of Le Mans" award, given to key figures in sports car racing who spread the fame of the 24 Hours of Le Mans worldwide.
On top of that, Dr. Panoz couldn't have asked for a better Father's Day present. Son Dan, President of Panoz Auto Development, watched the waning hours and minutes alongside him. Panoz' family and friends cheered on not just the Team LNT entry, but also the No. 77 Panoz Esperante GTLM of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz, which won at Sebring.
"Multimatic's efforts have played a pivotal role in the development of the Panoz Esperante and the Panoz brand," Dan Panoz said. "This victory is cheered by everyone who has contributed to our program."
In just its second appearance at the famed 24 Hours, the Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM ran without a major problem throughout Saturday and Sunday. Tomlinson said he couldn't have dreamed for a better performance from the Esperante. That has been the standard for the Panoz in Europe this year. In two Le Mans Series events, the Panoz Esperante GTLM finished third at Istanbul and second at Spa.