Star Mazda Champ Guy Cosmo earns Panoz LMP-01 test While competitors in the 2004 Star Mazda championship will drive the latest machine from Georgia's Elan Motorsport Technologies, the reigning Star Mazda champ Guy Cosmo this week got the chance...
Star Mazda Champ Guy Cosmo earns Panoz LMP-01 test
While competitors in the 2004 Star Mazda championship will drive the latest machine from Georgia's Elan Motorsport Technologies, the reigning Star Mazda champ Guy Cosmo this week got the chance to sample something a little faster from the EMT stable.
After his title success last year, Cosmo was invited to test the Panoz LMP-01 run by JML Team Panoz.
Both the new generation 2004 Star Mazda chassis and the American Le Mans Series crowd favorite are built by EMT in Georgia.
EMT also build the Panoz G Force GF09 which has taken four victories in this year's IRL IndyCar Series including the Indianapolis 500.
The New Yorker completed 46 laps at Road Atlanta this week in the car raced by Gunnar Jeannette and David Saelens at the recent Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.
"The car is so neat to drive and nowhere near as ominous as I was expecting," Cosmo said.
"The distance of the nose from where you sit is not a problem and the car is very friendly to drive. It is a lot more forgiving than what I was expecting. It encourages you to go a lot harder than what I would have thought.
"Obviously, it is a big step from the Star Mazda I drove last year but luckily I was able to drive a Riley & Scott at Sebring this year so I have something to compare it to.
"I have to say this car is fantastic - I was very impressed. You can feel why this car has been so successful"
"One of the great parts of the Star Mazda championship is that the organization really encourages their drivers once they have passed through that series.
"Winning the championship and getting this opportunity is great for me because it gets me that much more experience to land an American Le Mans Series drive.
"I am really grateful to everybody at Star Mazda, EMT and JML Team Panoz for this opportunity."
Cosmo impressed the Road Atlanta-based team during his stint aboard the car - not putting a wheel wrong during the test which he shared with the Panoz young-gun duo of Gunnar Jeannette and Benjamin Leuenberger.
"Guy is obviously a very capable driver and we were very pleased with his performance in the car," JML Team Panoz, team manager, Andy Waldrep said.
"It is obviously a big change for him to step aboard something with 600 horsepower and lots of downforce - it is dramatically different to what he is used to.
"However, he listened closely to Gunnar, Ben and engineers and didn't go out to try to drive the wheels off the car and lay down a hot time.
"He did a very professional job - Guy has a very big future in this sport. The Star Mazda class is an excellent training ground for young drivers and I am sure you will see more great talent emerge from that championship when the new car debuts next year."
JML Team Panoz is currently preparing for the next round of the American Le Mans Series at Infineon Raceway in California from June 25-27. Jeannette will team up with Olivier Beretta for round three of the championship while Leuenberger will make his ALMS sprint racing debut with David Saelens.