Panoz was ahead of time on Hybrid revolution The Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09SH hybrid prototype that will debut at the American Le Mans Series’ Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix is a revolutionary entry that looks to change the landscape of motorsports. But it’s not the first hybrid to test the waters of endurance racing.
Series Founder Dr. Don Panoz commissioned the design and build of an electric hybrid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998. “Sparky”, as the hybrid was affectionately called, was a Panoz GTR-1 coupe that used a Zytek electric motor paired with the Roush-Ford V8. The Panoz Q9 barely missed qualifying for the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans (with James Weaver at the wheel) but finished second in GT1 in the inaugural Petit Le Mans that same year and completed all 1,000 miles.
“We were the first with Sparky to race an electric-hybrid car,” Dr. Panoz said. “The world in 1998 wasn’t paying much attention to it so we couldn’t get a lot of traction. Obviously even as far back as 1998, I thought the ability to have a hybrid car that could be fuel efficient and energy efficient would be important. Unfortunately that car has gotten old but other people have taken up that mantle. (They) believe in the greening of motorsport. They’re presenting products that are competing and racing with green backgrounds.”
Johnny Mowlem, who is shaking down the Ginetta-Zytek at Silverstone today, will team with Stefan Johansson for the Utah-based Corsa team owned by Steve Pruitt.
“I talked to Don last year at Detroit and told him we were bringing the car and technology forward,” Pruitt said. “He was very excited about the prospect of the Q9 having a successor. There is a huge push for the electrification on the transportation sector. The project offers an interesting dynamic. It has a lot of potential and challenge.”
The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix from Miller Motorsports Park is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. MDT on Sunday, May 17. SPEED will broadcast the race starting at 10 p.m. EDT on the same day, and satellite radio subscribers to can listen to the race starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sirius 126 and XM 242. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com. You can also follow the Series on Twitter.
The race also will include the season-long MICHELIN Green X Challenge. Tickets are available at americanlemans.com or millermotorsportspark.com
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