Panoz praises Texas circuit

FORT WORTH, Tex. (February 15, 2001) -- American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz said that race fans in the Fort Worth-Dallas area are in for a "great spectacle" when Texas Motor Speedway hosts the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas on March ...

FORT WORTH, Tex. (February 15, 2001) -- American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz said that race fans in the Fort Worth-Dallas area are in for a "great spectacle" when Texas Motor Speedway hosts the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas on March 3-4.

The event will open the 2001 season for Texas Motor Speedway and the American Le Mans Series, featuring a two hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race on the speedway's 2.324-mile road racing circuit. The circuit combines part of the high-banked superspeedway oval with a twisting, turning infield course.

"They built a great course at Texas Motor Speedway," said Panoz, addressing the media at a recent function. "It's a fantastic venue. You can see the whole circuit from the stands and watch a great race."

The American Le Mans Series, founded in 1999, includes four distinct classes of race cars, all competing in the same event. The fastest cars are the exotic Prototypes, including the Audi R8 that won last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series also includes GTS and GT class cars, consisting of well-known sports cars such as Corvette, Viper, Porsche, BMW and Callaway.

"Our series offers the Fort Worth-Dallas market a type of racing they don't get to see at any other time," said Panoz. "This is the chance to see new and exciting technology, new cars, and lots of passing on the race track."

Panoz mentioned that there is sometimes a speed difference of more than 60 mph between the fastest and slowest cars, making for exciting moments in race traffic for fans as well as the drivers in the cars.

"I think we'll have a very good and exciting field of cars at Texas for the race," he said.

Texas Motor Speedway, which opened in 1997, hosted its first road racing event last September when the ALMS visited during one of the hottest periods of heat Texans had endured in years. Heat was one of the primary reasons for moving the event to March, as well as making it the season opener for the speedway and the series.

"Even with the heat last year, we had a good reaction from the fans who came to the race," said Panoz. "They liked what they saw and enjoyed it. We'd like to continue building a fan base in Texas and maybe expand to a four or six hour race sometime down the road. Then it really becomes a party."

In addition to the action on the track, Texas Motor Speedway will have plenty of action for fans attending the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas. There will be live music in the infield all weekend, as well as four extreme carnival rides. Children under 12 will be admitted free all weekend with a paying adult, and all ticket holders have the option of visiting the paddock area to see the race cars and teams up-close.

Tickets for the weekend are available online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com, through Ticketmaster or by calling the speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500.

The Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas will be televised live on the Speedvision Network beginning at 1 p.m. (U.S. Central time) on Sunday, Mar. 4. The race can also be heard online through the ALMS Radio Web at www.americanlemans.com.

-TMS

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Don Panoz