Panoz Motor Sports battled tough competition and mixed fortunes during today's Le Mans 24 Hour Preliminary Practice at the famous French circuit. The ...
Panoz Motor Sports battled tough competition and mixed fortunes during today's Le Mans 24 Hour Preliminary Practice at the famous French circuit.
The #12 Panoz LM-01 Evo "Spirit of America" car of David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta finished the day with the 12th fastest time, stopping the clocks at 3 minutes 36.103 seconds.
However, the #11 car of David Donohue, Bill Auberlen and Gunnar Jeannette unfortunately lost a significant part of the opening 4 hour practice session when the car suffered a prop-shaft failure in the opening hour of practice.
The car was only returned to the pits during the lunch-break, giving the Panoz crew a tough job to repair the car during the break.
The Panoz team will now head back to the USA for the next round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point in California on May 19.
The squad will also undertake an extensive endurance testing program immediately following the Sears Point event, before heading back to France for the Le Mans 24 Hours on the weekend of June 15-16.
"Considering this is one of the first times we have had the chance to run the new aero package and the new gearbox it was quite a big test day for us to learn what we had. The car had a reasonable balance and we have learned a great deal during the day. I tried a set of qualifying tires at the end of the day but I ran over some debris trying to pass a Ferrari and picked up a puncture. "
"We made a lot progress during the day and are certainly heading in the right direction. We still have a lot of work to do in the weeks ahead and we certainly hope that our luck will turn around here at Le Mans. This place has not been kind to us in the past, but we will continue to work very hard to try to reap the benefits of our development program."
"It is a really nice circuit and a lot of fun to drive and I really enjoyed the section leading up to the Indianapolis corner - just fantastic. It was also great to finally get here to France after all the build-up for this event. The day probably didn't go as well as we would have liked but we have a very strong baseline we can work from in the weeks ahead."
"We lost a lot of time during the day and that obviously really hurt our development which was unfortunate. We put the set-up from the #12 car on our car and tried to put as many laps on the car as we could. It was a great learning experience for all of us. It was great to drive a prototype car here and certainly a lot different from my days in the Viper."
"I'm obviously a little disappointed because we were just finding our feet when the prop-shaft failed and we lost a lot of time. I really have to hand it to the crew because they did a brilliant job in getting the car fixed and back on track. I was also about to start a flier right at the end of the session when the checkered flag came out."
"We were obviously a little disappointed to lose so much time off track, but I really enjoyed my first drive in a prototype at Le Mans - it was just fantastic. Driving a prototype here was the best birthday present I could have possibly received for my 20th birthday today. We obviously have a bit of work to do, but we have a good starting point to work from for the race."
1. - Capello/Herbert/Pescatori - Audi R8 - 3:30.296
2. - Montagny/Sarrazin/Johansson - Dallara Judd - 3:32.168
3. - Biela/Kristensen/Pirro - Audi R8 - 3:32.578
4. - Krum/Peter/Werner - Audi R8 - 3:33.180
12. - Brabham/Magnussen/Herta - Panoz Motor Sports - 3:36.103
21. - Donohue/Auberlen/Jeannette - Panoz Motor Sports - 3:44.392
LMP675 - Blundell/Bailey - MG Lola - 3:33.414
GTS - Enge - Ferrari - 3:52.070
GT - Buckler/Luhr/Bernard - Porsche - 4:10.081