Sears Point: JML Team Panoz preview

Olivier Beretta & Gunnar Jeannette - teaming up this weekend. Most people head to California looking a bit of sunshine, but JML Team Panoz will not be too upset if a little rain falls on Infineon Raceway next weekend for round three of the 2003...

Olivier Beretta & Gunnar Jeannette - teaming up this weekend.

Most people head to California looking a bit of sunshine, but JML Team Panoz will not be too upset if a little rain falls on Infineon Raceway next weekend for round three of the 2003 American Le Mans Series.

While any rain is not the ideal for the race fans, the Panoz LMP-01 thrived in damp conditions with the Panoz Motorsports team last year - taking the first of two victories in 2002.

For the 2003 season, JML Team Panoz kicked off strongly with both cars finishing in the top ten at Sebring.

That speed continued at Le Mans with Olivier Beretta, Gunnar Jeannette and Max Papis taking their second 5th place for the year.

At Infineon Raceway this weekend, Jeannette will again team up with Beretta - a combination that will drive the #10 car for the remainder of the year.

The #11 Panoz LMP-01 will be driven by Belgian, David Saelens and Swiss, Benjamin Leuenberger this weekend. The Infineon Raceway event will be the first sprint race in the ALMS for the young Swiss star.

Leuenberger will then stand aside for the next two races in Canada with Toronto's Scott Maxwell joining Saelens at Trois Rivieres and Mosport.

OLIVIER BERETTA
"I really love the track at Infineon Raceway and I am interested to see the changes they have done in the past couple of years. "I always ran well there when I raced in the ALMS with the Viper and I hope to continue that in the Panoz.

"Our recent testing has been a real step in the right direction and we are confident of performing very strongly.

"Audi will be fast as always, but the Panoz was obviously exceptional in the wet last year when it won. I won't be too disappointed if we get a little bit of rain."

GUNNAR JEANNETTE
"Driving with Olivier Beretta this weekend will be fantastic for me. We had great races together with Max Papis at Sebring and Le Mans and our preferences in the car set up are pretty similar.

"To do a whole season with Oli and our engineer Nick Potter will be very good for me this year and I think I will learn a great deal.

"I got to do a few laps here at Infineon Raceway last year so I know what to expect. The car is very good around this track and what we found in recent testing should be a big step forward for us.

"The car is a lot more comfortable to drive now and it will be interesting for us if it does rain like last year. Our car is pretty good in the wet and we would have a chance to put a Panoz on the top step of the podium if it was a little damp."

DAVID SAELENS
"I have been to San Francisco before but this will be my first look at Infineon Raceway.

"I now have my first sprint race under my belt in Atlanta so I know what to expect. I am going to arrive early to check out the Infineon Raceway track before we run for the first time on Friday.

"I am looking forward to getting the chance to qualify the car this weekend which will be a first for me.

"It is great to team up with Ben this weekend - he did a brilliant job at Le Mans and I think we will make a strong pairing.

"We have a busy schedule up ahead with five races in seven weeks but I am really looking forward to it. It will allow me to really get in rhythm because you are in the car almost every weekend."

BENJAMIN LEUENBERGER
"I have heard a lot about Infineon Raceay and I can't wait for the chance to do my first sprint race in the American Le Mans Series.

"It is going to be something new for me because we will have to push a lot harder than what you may do in a longer race.

"David is a great driver with a lot of experience and I am very happy to be in the car with him.

"It will be the first time at the track for both of us which will be a little tough, but I am sure we will learn it quite fast."

-pmg-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Saelens , Max Papis , Scott Maxwell , Gunnar Jeannette , Benjamin Leuenberger , Olivier Beretta