Laguna Seca: Panoz Motor Sports preview

Laguna kicks off three races in four weeks for Panoz, With three races in the next four weeks, Panoz Motor Sports has its sights set on a strong finish to the 2002 American Le Mans Series starting this weekend at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in ...

Laguna kicks off three races in four weeks for Panoz,

With three races in the next four weeks, Panoz Motor Sports has its sights set on a strong finish to the 2002 American Le Mans Series starting this weekend at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in California.

Both the #50 and #51 "Spirit of America" Panoz LMP-01 Evo machines have undergone complete rebuilds at the team's Braselton, Georgia headquarters in preparation for ALMS championship conclusion.

Following the Laguna this weekend, the team will have one spare weekend to prepare the cars before finishing the year with back-to-back races at Miami and Road Atlanta.

While the team already has two victories to its credit in 2002 for the #50 car of Jan Magnussen and David Brabham, the all-American pairing of Bryan Herta and Bill Auberlen will be aiming to join the victory ranks this weekend.

While Herta has a highly impressive race winning record in CART at the Californian track, he is fully aware the weekend aboard will Panoz will again be a tough fight with Audi.

"I'm definitely looking forward to going there,” said the 32-year-old Herta.

"If for no other reason than it's got good memories for me of past success in the champ car series. But it's going to be an entirely different thing when we get there with this Panoz. Certainly the car is a lot different than a champ car.

"It'll be interesting to me because I haven't been to too many places this year with the Panoz that I've also driven a champ car, and it's interesting to see how different the cars really are on a track that I know."

The Laguna Seca and Miami races will be run as the standard 2 hour, 45 minute sprint format.

The Road Atlanta event - Audi Presents Petit Le Mans - is staged as a 10 hour or 1000 mile race,whichever target is reached first.

The Miami race will also be a first for the ALMS with the championship sharing double billing with CART for the Grand Prix Americas.

"These are three races which I have been looking forward to all year," Panoz driver Jan Magnussen said.

"Laguna is always a highlight because it is such a brilliant track - the corkscrew is one of the most fun corners in the world.

"The street races at Washington and Trois Rivieres this year have been great for the series and I am sure Miami will be the same.

"As our home race, Petit Le Mans is always a favorite and everybody is keen to try to stop Audi from getting three wins in a row there."

=pms-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Bryan Herta , Bill Auberlen