JML Team Panoz targets sprint success on home turf Fresh from its barnstorming finish to the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour, JML Team Panoz now switches into sprint mode for this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta - a race home ground for the ...
JML Team Panoz targets sprint success on home turf
Fresh from its barnstorming finish to the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour, JML Team Panoz now switches into sprint mode for this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta - a race home ground for the Georgia-based team.
Olivier Beretta, Max Papis and Gunnar Jeannette took fifth place at Le Mans for JML - repeating the position they earned at the Sebring 12 Hour at the start of the year.
The fifth placing is actually the third in succession for the Panoz marque. The Panoz Motorsports team took fifth place at Petit Le Mans last year at Road Atlanta with Jeannette, Bill Auberlen and Bryan Herta.
For this Sunday's 2 hour, 45 minute race the #10 JML Team Panoz machine will be driven by Beretta (Monaco) and Papis (Italy) while Jeannette (USA) will drive the #11 car with series debutante and ex-Formula 3000 ace, David Saelens (Belgium).
Saelens made his debut with the team at Le Mans, turning in impressive times before suffering a crash caused by running over debris after 12 hours.
For Papis, the return to Road Atlanta brings back fond memories - the Miami-based Italian earned his first major sports car triumph at Road Atlanta in 1996.
Beretta is also eagerly awaiting the chance to return full time to American Le Mans Series competition. The ex-Formula One driver and current Williams test driver twice won the GTS championship in the ALMS for ORECA aboard a Dodge Viper in 1999 and 2000.
"It is great for the guys to have a race right here next to the workshop after Le Mans - it is nice for them to spend a few days at home. "We achieved a fantastic result at Le Mans - realistically, the best we could achieve considering the opposition we were up against. "I am really looking forward to this weekend because I love the Road Atlanta track and I am excited to be back in the American Le Mans Series. "I really enjoyed my two championship years here in America with the Dodge Viper and it is great to back this time aboard an LMP900 car. "I think we can have a very strong result this weekend. Sebring and Le Mans have been very good for us and I am very confident."
"It is great to be back at Road Atlanta because I actually won my first sports car race here in the US back in 1996 with the Ferrari. "Le Mans was a great result for us and has given the team a lot of confidence. For this weekend it is a different deal because the race is obviously a lot shorter.
"We will have to be a lot more aggressive here because you don't have time to wait around. Getting through traffic is going to be really important.
"The team has done a great job this year and there is a great atmosphere in the organization - I can't wait for this weekend."
"I am looking forward to driving with David this weekend because he did an excellent job at Le Mans.
"We are both about the same size so issues like the seat and belts with the driver changes should work out well.
"Our plan will be the same as Le Mans. We will run at our own pace and push as hard as can without taking too many risks.
"We want to make sure we are around at the finish and hopefully in contention for a spot on the podium. That would be my first in the American Le Mans Series so that is certainly a target."
"It is really exciting for me to make my series debut because everybody on the team is really optimistic after the excellent result by Olivier, Max and Gunnar.
"I was able to get lots of laps at Le Mans and became really comfortable in the car. I have also done a handful of laps here at Road Atlanta in testing so the track is not totally new for me.
"In Le Mans you didn't take any risks in fighting through traffic, but here you can not afford to lose 5 or 10 seconds behind some slower cars.
"You have to be careful, but you also have to be aggressive to ensure you remain on the pace."