Panoz Roll On To California Braselton, GA., 3rd September 2001. With the American Le Mans Series season approaching its final stages, the Panoz Motor Sports team is anxious to maintain its recent string of excellent results and move closer to...
Panoz Roll On To California
Braselton, GA., 3rd September 2001. With the American Le Mans Series season approaching its final stages, the Panoz Motor Sports team is anxious to maintain its recent string of excellent results and move closer to the top of the points listings.
Currently lying second in the Teams Championship, Sunday's running of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, CA., will present the rejuvenated Panoz team with a chance to take victory in a race that it feels got away from them last year. After leading all but two of the first 52 laps of the event, and holding a 17-second lead at one point, the team had to suffer the supreme disappointment of seeing its race finish in the pits after engine failure ended Panoz's day.
Australian David Brabham, who lives in Maidenhead, England is currently considered, with his Danish team mate Jan Magnussen, as the hottest driving duo in the Series with two wins and a second in the last three races. The former F1 stars view the 2.24 mil e Laguna Seca track as one of their favorites. The circuit features 11 turns and several fast, sweeping corners including the famous, challenging "Corkscrew".
"The races we've won this year help make up for some of the ones we should have won last year," said Magnussen. "But you never totally forget the ones that got away."
The Panoz team started the 2001 season with a new car, the LMP 07, but persistent technical problems with the machine led to it being sidelined after June's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team then brought last year's car out of retirement and has not finished l ower than third in the four races since. The team's win in August at Portland, OR., was the first non-Audi win in the ALMS for more than a year -- an event repeated in the most recent series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"At the beginning of the year, I never thought we'd be in this position at this stage of the season," said Brabham. "The team has done such a fantastic job, and everyone is excited about being at the races."
The Panoz team, which also includes a car co-driven by Germany's Klaus Graf and France's Franck Lagorce, will again face the two-car Audi Sport team at Monterey, along with much other strong competition in the Prototype category. "We have to keep beating t he Audis," said Brabham. "They have such a great team."
The two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race will start at 12 noon on Sunday, Sept. 9, and will be televised live by NBC Sports. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.