A Panoz In Holland
The 2004 Dutch Supercar Challenge will see the return of the Panoz
marque to European GT racing. German privateer Mirco Schultis will
be driving an Esperante GTS, a car similar to those used in the
Panoz Racing Series that supports the ALMS. The first test took
place at Hockenheim last week, "and at 9 am it was still snowing,
the track was wet all day, and it was freezing cold. But it was
great!" says an enthusiastic Mirco Schultis. Testing will continue
soon at the Eurospeedway Lausitzring, the currently foul Central
European weather permitting.
itself is a 2001 Panoz Racing Series car and has been in Germany
for a while, but was never raced. German team RED Motorsport brought
it to the Nürburgring for evaluation purposes, but in the end
it was used for passenger rides and as a demonstrator. It's seen
below, outside RED's premises last year.
Now it is being
updated to the latest Panoz Racing Series specification, with a
few differences: "We have changed the wheels from 17"
to 18" because this is a more common tyre size; and many modifications
had to be made to meet the DMSB (German motorsport authority) regulations.
Lights, indicators, the seat, the various safety systems, and such
like." These changes will still have to be approved by the
occasional outing in the Belcar is also a possibility but "we
would be in the same class as the Vipers and turbo Porsches. With
the 380hp we've got, that wouldn't make sense."
And since this
is a German team, what about the German Endurance Championship,
and the Nürburgring 24 Hours? "We are working on it",
says Mr. Schultis, "but it's not looking good." There
is one major hitch: "Panoz is not registered with the German
Bureau of Motor Vehicles as an automobile manufacturer." And
according to the Nürburgring regulations, this is the main
criterion for vehicle eligibility. Perhaps someone in Atlanta, GA
would like to lend a helping hand with the paperwork?
the Esperante GTS does not seem to quite fit into any of the existing
European regulations, so why choose it over something tried and
proven? "Why I am doing this I don't know," admits Mirco
Schultis, "I simply fell in love with the car." - not
a bad reason at all we think.