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Road Atlanta Visteon Panoz Petit Le Mans Race Report

Visteon Panoz Almost Champions on Home Track BRASELTON, Georgia, October 10 -- Had it not been for late-race engine failure, the ...

Visteon Panoz Almost Champions on Home Track

BRASELTON, Georgia, October 10 -- Had it not been for late-race engine failure, the #4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 could have taken home Premier Petit Le Mans first-place honors.

The #4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 had a strong run throughout the day, leading the race for over two hours, and continually threatening the eventual winner, the #7 LMP Ferrari. Having experienced trouble-free pit stops, with drivers Scott Pruett, David Brabham, Andy Wallace and Eric Bernard taking turns at the wheel, Brabham reported dropping oil pressure nearly eight hours into the race and the car was retired at 879 miles of the 1,000 mile event.

Team director Tony Dowe reported on the incident. "When David (Brabham) called in about the oil pressure, we knew it was pretty serious. It's always difficult when something like this happens at anytime, but to have done so well for so long, it's even harder. The drivers and the crew did a terrific job. We'll just have to move on and look ahead to the last two races on our schedule."

There was good news for Panoz Motorsports. History was made today when the #07 Panoz Q9 Electric Hybrid car finished its first-ever race -- the debut of a new concept of race car, initiated by Don Panoz, founder of the organization.

"It's fantastic to have seen 'Sparky' finish," Panoz remarked. "Drivers John Nielsen, Doc Bundy and Christophe Tinseau were great, and David Price and Zytec's Bill Gibson did a superlative job in getting the technology to work. We've proved that it can work reliably and that there is a future for this type of technology."

John Nielsen, driver of the first and last stints in the Q9 was happy with the recovery made early on in the race. "Obviously we didn't run without problems, but they were unassociated with the electric hybrid program. The team kept it together and even though we lost over an hour of track time, we were able to finish and finish strong."

The Q9 finished twelfth overall, third in the GT-1 class. The Visteon Panoz Racing Team will next compete in the FIA GT event on October 18 in Homestead, Florida.

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