Panoz Signs Bill Again
“We’ll bring some excitement to the GT2 battleground
Those are the words of Bill Auberlen, who tested a Panoz Esperante
GT-LM at a freezing Road Atlanta yesterday, and was confirmed as
one of the team’s drivers for 2005.
“The Panoz Esperante
is powerful and comfortable to drive fast,” announced the
Californian. “The track was below freezing for pretty much
the whole morning, so we were only able to put in a couple of hours
of track time in the afternoon. I’m excited to have been invited
to help take the GT LM to the next competitive level. The car really
has loads of potential and they’ve only scratched the surface.
It’s great to be back with the Panoz boys and we’re
all looking forward to racing against the Porsches this year. Based
on this brief first outing, I expect we’ll bring some excitement
to the GT2 battleground next year.”
The class needs some
Porsche rivalry next year, and Auberlen seems convinced that he
can be part of a front-engined GT challenge.
“Even in near-freezing
conditions, we were able to turn Road Atlanta within a few tenths
of a second of our previous best time here,” said General
Manager Ed Triolo. “To be in such a position this early on
before the season is also a credit to our partners at Élan
Power Products, Pirelli and the engineering support of Élan
Jameson Riley (19) also
had a stint behind the wheel yesterday. Riley set some good lap
times, helped by coaching from Gunnar Jeannette. Last year Riley
drove for the Volvo team in the SPEED World Challenge GT series,
alongside Derek Bell.
Here are Jeannette
and Auberlen, part of the Panoz prototype team in 2002, at scrutineering
at Le Mans (from the left - Jeannette, Auberlen, Donohue, Herta,
Brabham and Magnussen). A second spell with Panoz follows two spells
driving BMWs, most recently a PTG M3 in Grand Am. Yes, it was the
year of the odd-coloured hair.
news, the rumour that Alex Job Racing would be running one car in
the ALMS in 2005 has effectively been confirmed (by Autosport tomorrow):
Porsche's Uwe Brettel has expressed the view that the company wants
to open up the GT2 class to its customers. A little late for one