New home for Panoz Factory effort in 2007
Santa has delivered Panoz fans a unique gift for 2007 with the announcement today that three of the biggest names in North American sportscar racing – Panoz, Multimatic and Team PTG – will jointly launch an assault on the 2007 American Le Mans Series.
Virginia-based Team PTG will take over the day-to-day running of the two-car entry in the American Le Mans Series with Multimatic continuing to provide engineering support from its Toronto base.
PTG drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand will drive one of the two entries in 2007 with 2006 Le Mans 24 Hour GT2 winner Tom Kimber-Smith joining the driver line-up for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Drivers for the second PTG Panoz entry are yet to be determined.
Auberlen is no stranger to the Panoz marque, having driven for Panoz Motorsport aboard the Esperante in 2005 and the LMP1 prototype car in 2002.
PTG will continue its long and successful association with Yokohama and PFC Brakes with the new Panoz program while Elan Power Products will continue to provide horsepower for the campaign.
Multimatic's unique DSSV dampers will again be used. The state-of-the-art damping technology enjoyed another highly successful season in 2006 – winning the GT2 class in the ALMS and the FIA GT Championship, the P2 class in the European-based Le Mans Series and taking top honors in the Champ Car World Series for the third year in succession.
"The competition in GT2 is becoming extremely fierce and despite the Esperante winning both the Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006 we believe the pooling of the resources of PTG, Multimatic and Panoz will provide us with our best chance of success in 2007," PTG owner, Tom Milner said.
"Our team is extremely excited at this opportunity and we look forward to challenging strong for the GT2 championship."
In the past 11 years, Team PTG has won a total of 53 races in both sprint and endurance racing events and has won 14 North American sports car championships including four manufacturer's titles.
Some of the biggest names in world motorsport have competed for the team including Hans Stuck, Dieter Quester, Al Unser Jr, Bobby Rahal, Arie Luyendyk, Paul Newman and Boris Said
The Panoz Esperante is a high performance hand crafted limited production sports car manufactured in Braselton, Georgia by Panoz Auto Development Company (PADC).
The racing version of the car, known as the GTLM, has been developed for FIA/ACO GT2 competition by EMT with chassis engineering and manufacturing support from Multimatic. The car is available to customers through EMT and, in addition to the factory ALMS effort, will again be campaigned by Team LNT in Europe.
Multimatic has provided extensive support to the Panoz factory program over the past five years, including running the race team from its Toronto base in 2006.
Multimatic's motorsport engineering expertise is in high demand across the globe with customers competing in Formula 1, GP2, World Rally Championship, Champ Car World Series, IRL IndyCar Championship, American Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship, World Touring Car Championship, Le Mans Series, Australian V8 Supercar Championship, British Touring Car Championship, British Formula 3 Championship and Champ Car Atlantic Championship.