The Panoz GTR-1 from the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans and the DeltaWing whose last race was Petit Le Mans two years ago will take a lap ahead of Petit Le Mans in Georgia on 13 October in honor of recently deceased legend Don Panoz.
Just shy of one month ago, on 11 September 2018, Don Panoz passed away at the age of 83. In 1998, the American fell in love with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and endurance racing itself. As a result, he founded the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in partnership with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and created a 10-hour race in the spirit of Le Mans, appropriately named Petit Le Mans, the first running of which took place the same year.
So there was no better place than Road Atlanta for a tribute to the motorsport legend: the recently restored Panoz GTR-1 that competed at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans (the #45 fielded by Panoz Motorsports driven by David Brabham, Andy Wallace and Jamie Davies; seventh overall) will take a lap in honor of Don Panoz, with at its side the DeltaWing DWC13-003 "Stars and Stripes" decorated in the colors of the American flag. The GTR-1 will be driven by Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell will take the wheel of the DeltaWing.
Several other Panoz cars will also be on display inside of Turn 1, in the paddock. In addition to the two mentioned above, spectators will get to admire one of two Avezzanos competing this year in GTS in the Pirelli World Challenge (Panoz won the Constructors title in the class), two road versions of the Avezzano, a Panoz LMP in its "Spirit of America" livery and an Esperante Coupé 2003, the personal car of Don Panoz himself. The Panoz Esperante GTLM - winner at the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans in GT2 thanks to Lawrence Tomlinson (the current owner of Ginetta), Richard Dean (co-owner of the United Autosports team) and Tom Kimber-Smith - will also be exhibited.
To top it all off, fans are invited to sign the rear spoiler of the Panoz Avezzano GTS set to take the start at the Intercontinental GT Challenge round scheduled for 28 October at the Laguna Seca circuit. The car will be shared by Ian James, Preston Calvert and Mathew Keegan.
Nancy Panoz: "Don enjoyed a long history at the Road Atlanta circuit and this race. I am so pleased two of his most emblematic cars will be able to take a lap of the track, and it's wonderful to have Jan and Johnny back at the wheel of a Panoz. I know this would have made Don very happy."
PHOTOS (Copyright - Panoz): The Panoz GTR-1 and the DeltaWing.