David Donohue Drafted Into Panoz Squad For 2002 Brazelton, GA - Ex-24 Hours of Le Mans GTS winner, David Donohue has been drafted into the Panoz Motor Sports team for the 2002 American Le Mans Series season. The American has been recruited by...
David Donohue Drafted Into Panoz Squad For 2002
Brazelton, GA - Ex-24 Hours of Le Mans GTS winner, David Donohue has been drafted into the Panoz Motor Sports team for the 2002 American Le Mans Series season.
The American has been recruited by Panoz to replace Terry Borcheller who the team has been forced to release after Borcheller experienced problems fitting aboard the Panoz LMP-1 Evo prototype machine.
"We are very disappointed to have to make this decision, but unfortunately, we simply couldn't get Terry comfortable in the car," Team Owner, Don Panoz said.
"We would have loved to keep Terry because he is such a great ambassador for sportscar racing in the US, but he is basically too big to fit in our car.
"He was able to drive the car, but couldn't get comfortable. Drivers basically wear a car, rather than drive it - it was like trying to squeeze into a pair of shoes that are too small.
"We got to the stage where has was basically sitting on the floor, but still couldn't get enough leg movement. The pedals were moved forward as far as they would go.
"This is not a decision we wanted to make but ensuring our drivers can fit comfortably in the car is a serious safety concern that we could not overlook."
Donohue tested for Panoz prior to Christmas was one of the original drivers in contention for the fourth seat at the Georgia-based team for 2002.
The son of 1972 Indy 500 winner - the late Mark Donohue, David has been one of the nation's most versatile drivers since making the decision to follow in his father's footsteps in 1988.
He has driven in the NASCAR Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series and Indy Lights Championships as well as taken titles in the IMSA Bridgestone Supercar series in 1994 and the North American Super Touring Car Championship in 1997.
A regular ALMS competitor in the past with the ORECA Viper squad, Donohue won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998.
"This is truly one of the most exciting developments that has happened for me in racing," Donohue said.
"I feel really sorry for Terry because I know he would have been really looking forward to this opportunity.
"But for me, going for the overall victory will be a welcomed change from my Viper days, and being able to stay in an American car makes it a touch sweeter.
"It has always been a desire of mine to drive prototypes, and thanks to Panoz Motor Sports, I will now be getting that chance.
"Driving for a team like Panoz that has consistently shown that they are the best American LMP team puts this situation way over the top for me personally. I am truly honored to be even considered for the seat, now it will be time for me to do my part to help showcase how good this team really is."
Donohue will make his debut with the Panoz team at the 50th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring - Presented by Dodge, on March 13 to 16. He will contest the entire ALMS season alongside fellow American Bryan Herta as well as contest his favorite event - the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"Going to Le Mans as a challenger for the overall victory will be amazing. I love that race and the whole event, probably because I won the GT-2 class in the Viper back in '98," Donohue said.
"The overall win on such hallowed grounds is something that every sportscar driver dreams about accomplishing."
The second generation star is delighted to join the stellar Panoz driving squad of David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Herta.
"It is an obvious privilege to be teamed with David, Jan, and Bryan. I have long said that 'Brabs' and 'Mags' are the strongest two drivers in the sportscar racing. Bryan¹s Champ car experience will pay dividends for the team and immediately put him in that same category," Donohue said.
"I am in elite company for sure, and cannot wait to get started.
"I obviously feel some pressure going into Sebring because I have not had much time in the car. I drove the first Panoz LMP chassis for a handful of outings on a cold day back in December. My learning curve at Sebring will need to be very steep in order to satisfy myself, and do justice for the team.
"I am really indebted to Dr. Panoz and the entire team for this opportunity."
BIRTHDATE: 5th January, 1967
BIRTHPLACE: Morristown, New Jersey
RESIDENCE: West Chester, Pennsylvania
MARITAL STATUS: Married, with two children
- Won Porsche club driver of the year, 1989
- Eastern Motor Racing Association¹s GT Driver¹s Champion 1991
- Made NASCAR Busch debut, 1992
- IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Driver¹s Champion, 1994
- Made Indy Lights debut, 1995
- Won the first ever Super Touring race in North America in a Pac West Dodge, 1996
- Won the North American Super Touring Car Championship, 1997
- Winner of the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in an ORECA Viper, 1998
- Four time GTS winner in ALMS in 1999
- Winner of the Sears Point round of the ALMS in GTS in 2000
- Ran Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events in 2001
- Invited to drive for Porsche in the Pirelli Supercar races at the Indianapolis F1 Grand Prix.
- First season with Panoz Motor Sports
- Son of ex-Formula 1 and Indy 500 winner, Mark Donohue