Toronto - ON (June 28th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz is heading from the longest circuit on the 2006 calendar to the shortest this weekend - a return to a happy hunting ground for the Panoz brand at the New England Grand Prix at...
Toronto - ON (June 28th, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz is heading from the longest circuit on the 2006 calendar to the shortest this weekend - a return to a happy hunting ground for the Panoz brand at the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock.
Current Multimatic Motorsports star David Brabham teamed with Andy Wallace to win the Lime Rock round of the Professional Sports Car Championship back in 1998 aboard the original Panoz GTR-1 "batmobile".
The team scored a 1-2 that day with Eric Bernard and Raul Boesel finishing second - Boesel driving after contesting the Indy 500 the previous day.
The Panoz Esperante GTLM also showed strong speed at the 1.53 mile Connecticut circuit last year, qualifying third fastest and running 1-2 during the race before suffering fender damage on the #50 car and a broken seat on the #51 machine.
The Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz squad is now looking to return to victory lane after a disappointing run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when its solo entry was left stranded on track out of fuel after two and a half hours.
Brabham returns to the #50 Panoz this weekend, teamed with Scott Maxwell. The Sebring GT2 class winners jointly hold second place in the driver's championship with 48 points from the three races staged to date. Porsche driver Johannes van Overbeek holds a 10 point advantage at the top of the table heading into Lime Rock.
American young guns Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner have their sights set on banishing their early season misfortune which has left them with no race finishes and no points so far.
"Lime Rock is an important round for us to bounce back from the disappointment of Le Mans," Multimatic Motorsports Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director Larry Holt said.
"We are running second in the driver's, team's and manufacturer's championship and Pirelli is second in the tire battle, so a strong result here will kick off this part of the season in the perfect way.
"The competition in GT2 this year is extremely fierce so consistency is what is going to win this championship. The Panoz was very fast there last year and Multimatic has had some strong results there in previous years in other series so we can't wait to get started on Friday."
The two Panoz Esperante GTLM machines will hit the track for the first time at 10.55am on Friday with qualifying scheduled at 3.45pm. Saturday's 2 hour, 45 minute sprint race goes green at 3.00pm on Saturday.
"I am really looking forward to this weekend because we are fighting hard for the championship.
"I have raced at Lime Rock many times before and judging on the speed the car showed last year, Multimatic Motorsport Team Panoz should be pretty strong.
"Going from Le Mans to Lime Rock is like chalk and cheese - very different indeed. Lime Rock is small and tight - it was resurfaced recently but the bumps are still there.
"It is a very difficult track technically because there are not a lot of corners.
"To get an advantage around there you have to have the car hooked up really well. There are also a few areas around the track which if you don't get right, you can loose quite a bit of time.
"The car has been very strong all year and I expect we will see the same at Lime Rock."
"I certainly can't say Lime Rock is one of my favorite circuits - its short and bumpy but if the Panoz likes it better than me this weekend it could move up my favorites list.
"Because of the length of the track it is very crowded out there and I expect the competition will be very competitive.
"I am not sure what to expect, especially because it is a short race weekend. The Panoz team had a very good set-up there last year so we will use that as a starting point and go from there.
"The guys are obviously a little down after Le Mans but a good result here will really set up the remainder of the season in North America."
"I haven't been to Lime Rock in a couple of years but I won a historic race here in a Porsche GT1 so I am really looking forward to the weekend.
"Tom and I have had a rough time so far this year but we are both keen to put that behind us and get some points on the board.
"Challenging for the championship is going to be a big task, but we can certainly help Brabs and Scotty and score plenty of points in the team's and manufacturer's championship as well.
"That is our aim from here on in - maybe even steal a victory. The team has worked incredibly hard to sort all the bugs from the #51 car so a strong race finish is our target this week."
"This will be my first race here with a roof over my head. I did a Formula BMW event here back in 2004 and certainly had a challenging start because my first session was in the rain.
"The track is quite small and bumpy but I am quite looking forward to trying the circuit with the chicane that is used for the ALMS races.
"Obviously we want to do well every weekend and our plan now is to put our bad luck behind us and help Multimatic Motorspots Team Panoz chase down the team's and manufacturer's titles.
"I haven't had the chance to do many race laps so far this year, so I can't wait to get started this week."