Panhard Update: Delayed but Determined
It would be easy to discount the Panhard LMP / C-sport project as another unfulfilled LMP promise, something that ALMS fans are growing weary of. The company’s website has not been updated lately, and we haven’t heard much from Andy Campbell since the December 2005 report on DSC showing the chassis under construction.

But Campbell has broken the silence with a call to dailysportscar’s Russell Wittenberg.

“We’ve been deliberately quiet, but please don’t lose interest.”

The first chassis in now essentially complete. All that is lacking is the roll hoops, which have been a source of frustration for the fledgling manufacturer. The roll hoop, an item probably no more than an afterthought for companies like Lola and Courage, has turned into a mighty struggle for the tightly funded Panhard. To find a fabricator that is competent, willing and reasonably priced to do such a specialty item has been much more difficult than expected. Although the delay has been frustrating for Campbell, this dark cloud did have a silver lining. Finally a deal is in the works to get the roll hoops made, and the delay gave Panhard an opportunity to revisit the body design, before the panels went into production.

Andy Campbell consulted with noted aerodynamicist Nicholas Galbraith, of Aurora Racing. Galbraith is a former aerodynamicist for the McLaren Formula 1 team and recent projects included the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT. Campbell was so impressed with Galbraith’s vision for the car that he was entrusted to make some significant changes. As of this writing, final drawings are on the way to the composite manufacturer.

“We have retained the basic look of the original design, but have made what we think will be significant improvements aerodynamically,” explained Campbell. “I can say without hesitation that Nicholas gave the car the full F1 treatment.” So impressed is Campbell with the new aero work that the design will be kept under wraps until the body is complete and the car track tested. The custom BBS wheels, Ford V-Tec engine and a completely new electronics system should all be in place later this month, with a goal of a complete car ready for testing later this summer. Campbell continued, “The package will be first class, something a team will be proud to race. I have been talking with several parties interested in partnering with us as an LMP2 effort.”

“I’m going to build this car whether it kills me or not,” says the determined Campbell.

So the Panhard project is still alive and kicking, and as long as Andy Campbell can continue to pour his heart and soul (and bank account) into it, this prototype will be racing at a track near you. Hopefully, for our patience and Campbell’s health, that will be sooner than later.


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