Panoz can be a very difficult company to explain to someone who has never heard of it. It is a racing team that sometimes builds road cars, which isn’t all that unique, but it also owns the Road Atlanta racetrack, as well as several wineries and hotels. More importantly, this was the race team still fielding a front-engine LMP1 car at Le Mans in 2003, a full 40 years after the last time a front-engine car took an overall win at Le Mans. Panoz isn’t interested in the norm, and that much is obvious in the company’s latest road car, the Esperante GTR-1.
Those familiar with Panoz might be scratching their heads, as the Esperante GTR-1 isn’t new at all, and dates back to 1997. Panoz only built two units of the GTR-1 as a road car, as that was all that the weird GT1 regulations of the day required for homologation. One of these units stayed at Panoz, and the company has recently gone through it and restored it. The car is now being displayed to the public at the Dubai International Motor Show. To commemorate this, Panoz is now offering a replica version of the car available by special order.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1997 Panoz Esperante GTR-1.
Panoz, an American sports car manufacturer founded in 1989, rolled out the Esperante back in 2000. Developed as a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, luxury sport convertible, the first Esperante featured an aluminum body and a modular, extruded-aluminum chassis with steel subframes. The first iteration was powered by a Ford-sourced, 4.6-liter, V-8 engine that cranked out 305 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with modifications made by Elan Motorsport Technologies. First-gen models were capable of 0-to-60-mph sprints of 4.9 to 5.1 seconds and top speeds of up to 155 mph. The Esperante also spawned a GTLM race car with notable results in the American Le Mans series. As we approach the 2015 model year, Panoz has launched an updated version of the Esperante, this time with larger, more powerful engines, a revised exterior and a completely new interior.
As with most Esperantes, the 2015 model is available in both standard and GT versions, with the latter being highlighted by a wider body kit. The revised Esperante Spyder GT comes just as Panoz is celebrating its 25th anniversary as one of America’s most exclusive sports car manufacturer. Let’s see what Don Panoz has in store this time.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT.
Last time we heard anything about Panoz, the Georgia-based company was busy working on the 2014 DeltaWing Coupe program following Nissan’s withdrawal.
For those of you who are not familiar with the marque, Panoz manufactured a number of competitive race cars, such as the Esperante GTR-1 and its successors and the LMP-1, but also rolled out some limited-run, road-going sports cars as well. Dubbed Abruzzi, the most recent of them all was unveiled four years ago.
Despite this long hiatus, the American automaker hasn’t given up on building road cars, and it has now resurfaced to introduce the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder. As the name suggests, the new vehicle was built to celebrate Panoz’ first quarter of a century in the business and represents an update to the manufacturer’s notorious Esperante model.
Aiming to deliver "pure sports car performance and reflect the Panoz Le Mans endurance racing and performance ethos," the 25th Anniversary Esperante Spyder is built on a modular extruded aluminum chassis and its lightweight structure is made out of carbon fiber and aluminum.
Although it’s based on the original hand-built Esperante, the new sports car has received a redesigned fully independent suspension, a performance anti-lock brake system and BBS wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport ultra high-performance tires.
The Anniversary Edition Esperante will go on sale with two different bodies. The standard Spyder will sport a "super formed" aluminum body made through a process developed for aerospace applications, while the Spyder GT will feature carbon body panels constructed by Elan Composites, Panoz’ partner from the DeltaWing program.
Click past the jump to read more about the Panoz Esperante Spyder 25th Anniversary Edition.
After two teaser images, Panoz Motor Sports have officially unveiled the Abruzzi "Spirit of Le Mans" today at the Circuit de La Sarthe. The sports car will be limited to only 81 units, corresponding to the number ofLe Mans 24 Hour contests between the inception of the race in 1923 and the race to be held in 2013. The Abruzzi will be road-legal in Europe and in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
The Abruzzi "Spirit of Le Mans" is a front-engine, rear-transaxle and rear-radiator super sports car powered by a 600-plus HP engine. The Abruzzi ’Spirit of Le Mans’ is the first car ever to feature the implementation of the R.E.A.M.S. - Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System - body system that offers environmental, performance, and structural advantages like no other automobile body system on the planet. This construction is lighter than carbon fiber yet equally strong. It will also feature a new three-stage "TRIFECTA COOLING" technology that improves both engine performance and efficiency. This "Trifecta" is an innovative development that improves both engine performance and efficiency. In addition to a typical high-efficiency radiator, there are stage two and stage three cooling systems that lower coolant temperature on both the inflow to and the outflow from the radiator.
Albeit a little oddly shaped, the Panoz Abruzzi is definitely built to do what it is supposed to do; provide the driver with an amazing racing experience. The front of the vehicle sits wide and then closes in at the sides providing a unique design and aerodynamic shape to help with the downforce of the vehicle and allow it to grab onto the road that much better. This is a vehicle that was built with a purpose and that purpose was not to be the most attractive vehicle out there, but the most functional.
Check out the video of Don Panoz as he introduces the Abruzzi "Spirit of Le Mans" after the jump. The press release can be seen after the jump as well..
American muscle with a flare for the exotic! This 600 bhp front/mid-engine (engine is located behind the front axel) racer was released onto the race circuits of the world in 1997 at the famous Sebring 12hr venue. Powered by a Roush-prepared Ford V8 that creamed down the straightaway, this car was a fan favorite. Dubbed the “Batmobile” while racing in Europe, this car followed the trend in GT racing for fron-engined cars such as the Marcos and Dodge Viper GTS-R”.
From its successful introduction on the American Le Mans Series earlier this year, the Panoz Esperante GT-LM race car is on the threshold of making its presence felt on racing circuits in both America and Europe as its builder launches a new customer car program.
The Panoz GTS features a unique body comprised of fifteen thermoformed panels, making it more durable, less expensive and easier to replace than fiberglass. Also, all Panoz GTS spec racers feature an eight-point integrated roll cage with triple tube side-protection and working doors on both sides of the vehicle.