PANOZ: RETURNING TO LE MANS AS DEFENDING CLASS WINNER Ever since he first set foot there in 1997, Le Mans has had a special meaning for American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz. A participating team owner, honorary race starter...
PANOZ: RETURNING TO LE MANS AS DEFENDING CLASS WINNER
Ever since he first set foot there in 1997, Le Mans has had a special meaning for American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz. A participating team owner, honorary race starter and Spirit of Le Mans award winner, Dr. Panoz joined the ranks of winners last year with Team LNT and the Panoz Esperante GTLM in GT2.
"It only took one trip to Le Mans to realize that there was something very special," Dr. Panoz said. "It hooked me and I became an addict. Going to Le Mans, even when you lose, is an emotional experience because it is the greatest sports car race in the world. It is endurance. It is about the pomp and circumstance and the tradition of sports car racing. To go back as defending champions in GT2 with the Panoz brand just adds a little more frosting to that cake."
This is the 11th Le Mans for Panoz, who has seen all sides of the world's most famous auto race.
"Le Mans is such a fickle woman," he said. "She can love you one year and hate you the next. You never know what dress she is going to wear on the day of the race. It is about going faster but it is about finishing the race. You can set all the lap records you want, you can perform well and pass everyone on the track. But to finish first you have to first finish. It has a lot to do with luck and preparation naturally. You have to be prepared to take advantage of luck. That's what happened last year. The team was well-prepared and had a strategy and stuck with it."