The racing version of Panoz Auto Development Company’s newest road-going supercar has been hard at it with a dynamic test program in advance of its next appearance at the fabled Mosport International Raceway circuit on July 24th. The Grand Prix of Mosport will serve as the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series. The Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport – the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila PatrÂ¢n, will mark the first race outside the U.S. for the Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ GT entry.
“The race at Mosport this year will have special meaning for the team. As you know we recently announced the return of the track to Canadian ownership so to see the Abruzzi on track will be very poignant," said Don Panoz, founder of Panoz Motor Sports Group. “The demanding nature of Mosport and the very close racing we always see at this wonderful track is the perfect platform for the continued evaluation of our development program whilst we await the final government certification on the road car. Furthermore, it makes sense at this time in the track’s history that we are grateful participants at this historic facility."
The Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ race car is being prepared by Tom Milner’s Prototype Technology Group, a past champion in the American Le Mans Series. Ian James, the Series’ 2004 LMP2 champion, and lead development driver will head the driver line up for the Panoz Team entry in the GT class during the 2011 championship.
The Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ looks to add to an extensive race-winning legacy established by the Panoz brand. The Georgia-based manufacturer tasted victory in class at Sebring in 1998 with the Panoz GTR-1 and again in 2006 with the Esperante GTLM. The latter spurred the marque toward its first win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year.
Panoz and PTG first showed the race-going Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ at Petit Le Mans last October at Road Atlanta. It turned a processional lap prior to the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour event and was the centerpiece of the Panoz display in the main paddock. The Abruzzi ‘Spirit of the Le Mans’ racer and its road-going counterpart sat alongside the Panoz GTR-1, LMP-01 prototype and the Esperante street car in a Panoz family tree.
“It was extremely important for us to unveil the Panoz Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ at Petit Le Mans," Panoz said. “I’m glad we could give the fans what they wanted – a glimpse of the new car. There was so much anticipation with so much support for Panoz out there, and particularly here in Braselton as the factory is just down the road. We were thrilled to make the 12 Hours at Sebring and although a simple mechanical issue made it a very short day for us there we where very excited by the data we gathered and it has been a huge help to our test program.
“Everyone – from PTG, Panoz Auto Development and Ã‰lan Technologies – have worked tirelessly to have this very unique concept for a race and street supercar completed and certified. While we are still awaiting results from a few final government test labs on the street car certification we want to move forward in proving the cars metal on the race track," Panoz added. “The response to the Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’, both from the fans and within the industry has been overwhelming and everyone involved should be very proud of what they have achieved."
The Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans" is set to carry on a successful history of Panoz in motorsport. With 10 class victories – including eight overall – in the American Le Mans Series and the 2002 Trans-Am championship, the manufacturer is one of the most renowned in the world. In addition to winning at Sebring and Le Mans, Panoz has won at such venues as Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Sears Point, Portland, the NÃ¼rburgring and Washington DC.
Abruzzi: The Automobile
The Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ is a unique, front-engine, rear-transaxle and rear-radiator super sports car – road-legal in Europe and many countries of Asia, the Middle East and South America. It is powered by a V8 engine producing 640 HP @ 6500 rpm / 477 KW and 600 + ft lbs of torque at 3800 rpm/ 821 nm. Its styling is inspired by automobiles like the 1935 Delahaye and born of a pre-war era of classic streamlining.
In addition to its unique aerodynamic styling and its impressive power and torque, a number of technical advancements will be pioneered and proven on the Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’. It breaks new ground in environmental design and construction represented by the Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System body system. R.E.A.M.S.Â® offers environmental, performance and structural advantages like no other automobile body system on the planet. Never used before on any road-going automobile, the multi-layer composite system is lighter than carbon fiber yet equally strong. Unlike carbon fiber however, it is dent-resistant, shatter-proof and recyclable.
Abruzzi also introduces TRIFECTACOOLINGÂ® technology. In addition to a normal high-efficiency radiator, there are stage two and stage three systems that lower coolant temperature on both the inflow to and the outflow from the radiator.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila PatrÂ¢n is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. The fourth round of the 2011 championship is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 9 with live video coverage available on ESPN3.com in the US, and americanlemans.com for international users and worldwide listeners to American Le Mans Radio. ESPN2 will air the race starting at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 10.