2011 Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le MansEnlarge Photo
Panoz Auto Development isn’t much of a household name; it’s only mostly known by those in car-loving circles. The Georgia-based company hand builds sports cars for both the road and the race track. Their most successful car, the Esperante, is very competitive in GT2 category racing both in the United States and Europe. Its co-founder Don Panoz, even created the American Le Mans Series (ALMS.)
For the past couple of months, the company, have been teasing the world with computer-generated shots of a new, upcoming model called the Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans.” Now the wait is over and full shots of the car have now been revealed.
Don Panoz states that the reasoning behind the car was to relate back to a time when Le Mans cars were driven to the track and raced, then driven back. So its current form is essentially ready to race as soon as it gets to the track.
The car looks like an evolution of Panoz’s first Le Mans GT1 car, the Esperante GTR-1, which started racing in 1997, but bowed out in 2003 from racing altogether. In true racecar fashion the car is front wheel drive with a rear transaxle, but also uses a rear-mounted radiator. The car is powered by an engine that produces 600 horsepower and 590 ft lbs of torque. The body is built with a new Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System (R.E.A.M.S.®) composite material that is just as good as carbon fiber, but doesn’t dent or shatter.
The car is only going to be sold in Europe, but will be street legal in other countries, though North America is suspiciously not on this list. Customers can only take delivery of their cars at the Le Mans track, where they will then be instructed how to use the car on the Bugatti Circuit, a racetrack built within the famous Circuit de la Sarthe.