HOSCHTON, Ga. – After making its world premier at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Panoz Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” super sports car will offer its second public showing at the Le Mans Classic vintage sports car event held July 9-11 on the grounds of the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit in Le Mans, France.
Its debut last month at the world-famous 24-hour race there attracted media attention from around the globe and continues to resonate in both the enthusiast and technical media and, of course, among those whose passion is for great sports cars. 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 – inspired by automobiles like the 1935 Delahaye and born of a pre-war era of classic streamlining – has been described by automotive observers as “dramatic”, “eye-turning”, “organic” and even “radical”.
More than 62,000 spectators crowded the Panoz Abruzzi – “Spirit of Le Mans” display at last month’s 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “The premier at Le Mans a few weeks ago truly exceeded my expectations” said Don Panoz, founder of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. “The media has been gracious and the debut has received attention around the world. It’s perfectly appropriate to return to the spiritual ‘home’ of the automobile – the Circuit de La Sarthe – to once again give the public a chance to see it up close. I could not be happier or more energized by the reception the Abruzzi has received.”
The Le Mans Classic began in 2002 and runs every two years in July on the full 13.65-km (8.48-mile) circuit. The event consists of a series of races for cars which have competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans or for similar cars of the same model. Only cars from prior to 1979 are allowed, with all cars being broken into six different eras. To compete in the races a driver must own an FIA International Competition license.
According to Panoz, “We have received several reservations already based on the showing at the 24-hour race, and a number of established race teams have approached us about competing with the Abruzzi both in the European and American Le Mans Series. We expect that our racing debut in the Le Mans GT class will come as soon as this year’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 2. We have a long way to go before that can happen, but I am very optimistic.
Abruzzi: The Automobile
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.® 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 TRIFECTACOOLING® 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.
Abruzzi: The Experience
The Panoz Abruzzi harkens back to a day where drivers would pilot their car to Le Mans, race it twice around the clock then drive back home. It essentially captures the “Spirit of Le Mans” with a never-before-seen acquisition program that sets a new standard for personalization and delivery.
Given the roots of Panoz’s automotive dreams, it is only appropriate that the Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” will be delivered to its owners at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe, shipped directly there from the Panoz factory. Each automobile will be linked to a specific Le Mans 24 Hour race, with the chassis number also containing that specific race date and the initials of the winning drivers and the history of that year.
Professional drivers will instruct owners in driving the car on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans. Service and repairs also will be attended to at the ACO facilities of the Circuit 24 Hours of Le Mans.
New vehicle owners also will be invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans as guests of the ACO and Panoz at the ACO’s hospitality facilities in the “Module Sportif” at the circuit. New owners also will have the unique opportunity to drive a parade lap of the full 8.3-mile circuit at that year’s event.
During the Le Mans race week a “Spirit of Le Mans” reception will be held at the clubhouse of the famed Golf Des 24 Heures in the historic town of Arnage. The new owners for that year will be the guests of the ACO officials and past “Spirit of Le Mans” award winners such as Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell.
“Being associated with the ACO and Le Mans is something very special to me,” Panoz said. “Being able to stand side-by-side with the heroes and legends of Le Mans gives me a sense of appreciation and passion for this grand event. I felt it was important to give our customers the same experience, and I am grateful to our partners at the ACO for helping make this happen.”
Panoz Auto Development produces leading-edge, fully certified automobiles and is best known for the first US-manufactured AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) – the Panoz AIV Roadster. The Panoz Esperante body and chassis also extensively employs aluminum for performance, safety and efficiency. The Panoz Esperante GTLM earned world-famous stature as a race car by winning the GT2 category at both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a single year – 2006
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