MULTIMATIC CONFIRMS MILNER AS DRIVER FOR NO. 51 PANOZ ESPERANTE IN 2006 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES Braselton, Ga. - To no one's great surprise, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz announced today that it has signed American Tom Milner to pilot...
MULTIMATIC CONFIRMS MILNER AS DRIVER FOR NO. 51 PANOZ ESPERANTE IN 2006 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
Braselton, Ga. - To no one's great surprise, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz announced today that it has signed American Tom Milner to pilot one of its Panoz Esperantes in the American Le Mans Series' GT2 class for the full 2006 season.
The 20-year-old former BMW Team PTG driver will join forces with fellow American young gun Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 51 Panoz Esperante GTLM. Renowned international sports car racer David Brabham, a former Panoz factory driver, and long-time Multimatic factory pilot Scott Maxwell are partnered in the No. 50 Panoz.
Milner drove full-time for BMW Team PTG in 2005 after making his sports car debut late in 2004 at Virginia International Raceway with the same squad. The son of PTG team President and namesake Tom Milner, the younger Milner drove with Jeannette in his maiden GT outing; now they are teammates at Panoz.
"Moving to Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz offers a great opportunity to drive for a different team after two years with PTG," Milner said. "I am really looking forward to the challenge. For me it is a new car, a new series and a chance to experience a different approach to racing.
"It will be quite strange to drive against Dad's team, especially after testing both the Panoz and BMW at the recent Sebring test," he added. "The plan is certainly to give BMW, Porsche, Lexus and Ferrari all a hard time, and I am sure they will be doing the same in return, especially the PTG guys. I was very impressed with the Panoz at Sebring. It has excellent power and I can't wait to get back in the car and complete our preparations for Sebring."
Milner is also no stranger to the Multimatic team, having filled in for Scott Maxwell last year at Mosport aboard a Ford Mustang FR500C racer. While Maxwell was competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Panoz, Milner stepped in and drove with James Gue to grab a podium finish.
Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director Larry Holt believes his new 2006 Panoz squad has the perfect blend of youth and experience.
"We have worked very hard to bring together everything we need to challenge for the championship, and our outstanding driver lineup certainly fills me with confidence," Holt said. "Young Tom made a very big impression on our guys at Mosport last year and he continues to show exceptional raw speed. I believe he and Gunnar are two of the most talented young road racers in North America, and teaming them with Brabs and Scotty's experience is an ideal combination.
"The entire team is really looking forward to the opening round of the championship," Holt added. "We were delighted with the recent Sebring test because our main aim there was to ensure the car was reliable. Not only did it run flawlessly throughout the test but the car was also very fast. Speed wasn't our target but I'll always take a lap record. However, we are not about to rest on our laurels. The competition in the GT2 class this year is going to be fierce and we know we will have a big fight on our hands."
The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway. It will be televised live on SPEED Channel in North America and MotorsTV in Europe. In addition, Greenlight Television will distribute the race worldwide to more than 510 million households. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag-to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.