Don Panoz, the co-founder of Panoz cars and creator of the American Le Mans Series, has passed away at the age of 83.
One of the most influential figures in world of motorsport, Panoz took his U.S. brand to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on both the prototype and GT fronts, achieving a class win in 2006 with the Esperante GT-LM.
Panoz was also instrumental in creating the ALMS, which grew out of an agreement with the ACO to launch the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race in 1999.
The inventor, who's credited with the creation of the time-release technology often associated with quit-smoking nicotine patches, used his fortune to promote motorsport and draw in world-class competition to the States.
Panoz's influence as a team owner, manufacturer and overall pioneer earned him an upstanding reputation that will carry far beyond his years which he used to improve and push forward in a time of major tech and cultural advancements.
Panoz operated two drug stores in Pittsburgh while studying business at Duquesne University. In 1961, Panoz and Milan Puskar formed Milan Pharmaceuticals (which would later be renamed Mylan) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. While head of this company, Panoz headed a research group that invented time-release medication through a transdermal patch, known most commonly in today's market for its nicotine application.
Panoz left Mylan in 1969 when the company refused to develop the patch, and subsequently moved the family to Ireland where he formed Ã‰lan Corporation. This company has since become an industry leader in drug delivery products and technology, continues to hold the worldwide patent for the nicotine patch, and was the first Irish company to be publicly listed in the U.S. stock market. Panoz gradually reduced his stakes in the company, and it was bought by Perrigo in 2013.
Don & Nancy Panoz founded ChÃ¢teau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, Georgia, in 1992. The couple still own this resort, which has since grown to 3,500 acres (14 km2). The Panozes sold a portion of their businesses to three partners in 2004. Similarly in Patterson, California, 35 miles east of San Jose, the Panozes developed Diablo Grande gated community and the Diablo Grande Winery and Resort, which was sold In 2005; and later they founded the St. Andrews Bay Resort and Spa in Scotland. This venue has since been sold and is now managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts as the Fairmont St Andrews. These venues feature golf course designs and collaborations from Bruce Devlin, Denis Griffiths, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, and Sam Torrance.
He was also the co-Founder and chairman of a water pollution control firm, HydroMentia, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Norcross, GA based indoor LED display manufacturer, NanoLumens.
He was also the owner of Panoz, LLC located at 1089 Highway 124, Hoschton, Georgia 30548. In 2014, he began manufacturing the 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Panoz Motorsports car made exclusively in the United States.
Today, the holdings of Don Panoz and his family include the following:
Chateau Elan Winery & Resort
Diablo Grande Winery & Resort
Ã‰lan Natural Waters
Fountainhead Development Corporation
Panoz Auto Development Company
The Vintage Golf Club, Australia
Van Diemen International
Road Atlanta – Sold To NASCAR
Sebring Raceway (long-term lease) – Sold To NASCAR
Mosport International Raceway (long-term lease) – Sold To C.M.V. Ron Fellows,Carlo Fedani