Braselton, Georgia -- Panoz Motor Sports is set to commence a development program aimed at returning to full competitiveness for the 2004 season when the new, soon-to-be-announced, Le Mans 24 Hour and American Le Mans Series regulations come into...
Braselton, Georgia -- Panoz Motor Sports is set to commence a development program aimed at returning to full competitiveness for the 2004 season when the new, soon-to-be-announced, Le Mans 24 Hour and American Le Mans Series regulations come into effect.
With a view to the expected length of the developmental phase, Panoz Motor Sports founder Don Panoz today announced he will release lead drivers David Brabham and Jan Magnussen to pursue other opportunities.
"This has certainly been a difficult decision because not only have David and Jan been an integral part of our team, they are also close friends," Panoz said.
"We have realized that our current car is not as competitive as we would like and is really at the end of its competitive development potential. There is not a lot more we can get out of the old girl.
"We will begin a new program next year, but realistically, it will take time to bring this program to the front of the field.
"While having David and Jan as part of that developmental process would certainly be beneficial to us, it would be a waste of their incredible talents.
"David in particular is very keen to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and he probably has a much better chance of achieving that goal in the near future with a major manufacturer.
"I believe these two drivers are the best in the business and I have no doubt they will be quickly picked up by major teams.
"I still have a dream for Panoz to win the Le Mans 24 Hour, but we are fully aware of the size of the mountain we are attempting to climb."
Panoz LMPs will contest the 2003 American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hour with a newly developed Elan Power Products engine matched to development versions of the Panoz LMP-07 chassis initially run in 2001. The chassis has been further developed by Canadian engineering organization, Multimatic.
Details regarding the new development program will be announced in the near future. No decision has been finalized on the remainder of the 2003 Panoz driver line-up at this point in time.
"In conjunction with Multimatic, we have some exciting plans for the future which are targeted at ensuring the Panoz marque is regularly competitive within the American Le Mans Series," Panoz said.
"The wins by David and Jan this year at Sears Point and Washington D.C. were tremendously rewarding for me and the entire team, but we want to seriously be in a position to challenge for victory at every race we go to. We have enjoyed a reasonably good season, but we want to take the next step.
"We are only a small manufacturer compared to the major players so we have had to re-assess what it takes to be successful.
"I know our fans will initially be disappointed not to see David and Jan in Panoz cars , but I am just as confident they will enjoy seeing their considerable talents unleashed during the upcoming 2003 season. I am sure they will join me in wishing David and Jan the best of luck for 2003 and beyond. I would be delighted to see them win at Le Mans - either in one of our cars or another manufacturer.
"They will always hold a special place in our hearts at this team - we have had a lot of good times together."