JML Team Panoz has signed its first drivers for the 2003 attack on the American Le Mans Series - two-time ALMS GTS champion Olivier Beretta and young star Gunnar Jeannette. An ex-Formula One driver, Beretta took the American Le Mans Series ...
JML Team Panoz has signed its first drivers for the 2003 attack on the American Le Mans Series - two-time ALMS GTS champion Olivier Beretta and young star Gunnar Jeannette.
An ex-Formula One driver, Beretta took the American Le Mans Series GTS championship for Viper Team Oreca in 1999 and 2000 and drove the Dallara prototype for the Oreca squad at Le Mans for the past two years.
Jeannette has graduated to a full-time role aboard the Panoz LMP-01 after having served as the factory test driver for Panoz Motor Sports in 2002.
Beretta recently tested the Panoz at Road Atlanta, quickly adapting to the front-engined LMP-900 prototype.
"I was very impressed with the Panoz when I drove it at Road Atlanta and I am really looking forward to getting back into the American Le Mans Series on a full-time basis," Beretta said.
"The car is certainly very different to drive from the Dallara, but it didn't take me long to get used to it. The seating position in the Viper is actually pretty similar.
"The other great aspect about joining JML Team Panoz is the chance to continue working with Michelin."
Beretta has not been sitting idle over the winter break. He has recorded more than 2500km in tire testing for Michelin aboard the Williams Formula One car this year.
Jeannette's performances aboard the Panoz at Le Mans and Road Atlanta last year as a third driver has earned him a seat with the new Panoz privateer team in 2003.
"I am really looking forward to doing a full year in the Panoz," Jeannette said.
"I learned a great deal last year being part of the Panoz Motor Sports team, but it was frustrating at times to be sitting on the sidelines.
"I am really grateful to John McLoughlin for the chance to race full time - I can't wait to get started at Sebring."
The complete driver line-up and driver pairings for JML Team Panoz is expected to be announced in the near future.
The team will kick off its 2003 assault on the American Le Mans Series at the 51st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from March 12-15.
"I am really pleased to begin building our driver line-up with a great combination of youth and experience," Team owner, John McLoughlin said.
"We are talking to several drivers at the moment and we hope to be able to announce Olivier and Gunnar's team-mates very soon. We will be testing a couple of drivers this week.
"Our program is coming together really quickly and everybody is really looking forward to getting started at Sebring.
"The opposition will be very tough, but we expect to field an extremely strong driver line-up."