Panoz secures top driver line-up for Le Mans

Panoz secure top driver line-up for Le Mans 24 hour assault. Panoz Motor Sports founder Don Panoz believes his team's 2002 driver line-up for this year's Le Mans 24 Hour will be one of the strongest he has ever assembled. Panoz today announced...

Panoz secure top driver line-up for Le Mans 24 hour assault.

Panoz Motor Sports founder Don Panoz believes his team's 2002 driver line-up for this year's Le Mans 24 Hour will be one of the strongest he has ever assembled.

Panoz today announced the #11 machine will be driven by David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta at Le Mans, while David Donohue, Gunnar Jeannette and Bill Auberlen will contest the race aboard car #12.

"I am very excited about our line-up for this year because we have a fantastic blend of speed and experience," Panoz said.

"Audi will obviously be very tough, but the team is working very hard in the preparation for the race and all the drivers are extremely keen to do well.

"David, Jan and Bryan should make a fantastic combination and I am also very pleased to take an all-American trio to Le Mans in the #12 car as well.

"It will be Gunnar's first Le Mans in a prototype but David Donohue and Bill Auberlen have a lot of experience and the three of them should combine well. Gunnar is the youngest driver to ever finish the 24 Hour and his podium finish in GT last year was very impressive.

"It will be great to see the three of them wave the flag in one of the 'Spirit of America' machines."

Since the 12 Hours Of Sebring, Panoz has launched an extensive testing program on new components and improvements - already undertakening more than 30 hours of testing in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

For David Brabham, this year will be his sixth assault on the event with the team.

"I truly believe we have a great combination and I am really looking forward to the race," Brabham said.

"Jan, Bryan and myself have worked really well together so far this year and Bryan did a great job in the car in his first drive at Sebring.

"For Jan and myself, our speed around Le Mans is probably as good as anyone. Bryan hasn't been there before but he knows the car well and Jan and I should be able to teach him a bit about the place."

For David Donohue, a former winner in the GTS class at the classic French event, the challenge of Le Mans is one he is eagerly awaiting after missing the race last year.

"I have a win, a second and a DNF in three visits to Le Mans and last year was probably a good one to miss with the weather," Donohue said.

"Having four American drivers in the team with this colour scheme should be a fantastic experience.

For myself, Bill and Gunnar, we are all new to the program, but we all got the chance to get plenty of laps at Sebring to get familiar with the car."

Auberlen returns to Le Mans after having previously driven a BMW prototype in the fabled french event.

"The team is extremely focused on performing well at Le Mans this year and I believe both cars will be extremely strong," Auberlen said.

"I really loved driving the car at Sebring and can't wait to get back into a prototype at Le Mans.

"It will be fantastic for the three of us as Americans to drive the car at Le Mans - if ever there was a car that deserved to wear the stars and stripes - it has to be the Panoz."

-pms-

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About this article
Series ALMS , Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Bryan Herta , Bill Auberlen , David Donohue , Gunnar Jeannette , Don Panoz