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Last Friday night in San Jose, California, the Champ Car World Series staged the long-awaited unveiling of its new spec racer for 2007 - the Panoz DP01.

Designed and built by Panoz' Georgia-based operation, the new car will replace the aging Lolas that have been the backbone of the series for years. In keeping with the series' road course and street circuit emphasis, the new car is lighter (by about 100 pounds) and smaller than the current car, while retaining the same turbocharged V8.

Follow the jump for more details on the Panoz DP01 and lots of pics.

[Source: Champ Car World Series]

Aerodynamics on the new car have been carefully designed to allow the cars to run closely together, with the majority of the car's downforce generated by big "underwings" beneath the body structure, minimizing the role of the front and rear wings. Although the design of the car will be frozen for the first few years while the series builds up the grid, it's likely that series organizers will gradually ease the restrictions on the car, allowing teams to develop their own parts in some areas.

Other features of the new car include paddle shifters, an enlarged cockpit to accomodate taller drivers, and a raised nose to improve front wing performance and clean up the airflow under the car. The DP01 also has an on-board starter, which should reduce the number of in-race caution periods for stalled cars.

The new car is designed to be considerably less expensive to acquire and to maintain, which should help the series in its efforts to increase the number of competitors, in the same way that the new Swift Formula Atlantic car, introduced this year, revitalized Champ Car's support series. Early signs are promising - the Formula BMW and Formula Atlantic Gelles Racing organization announced at the launch party that it will join the Champ Car series in 2007 with a two-car team.

[Source: Champ Car World Series]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      If only F1 cars were that beautiful.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I live in Euroland and basically never get to see any US racing, but I have to say, this looks purposeful, clean, to the point and definitely nothing like an old F1
      • 8 Years Ago
      I love it. I love it so much that I tipped Autoblog to this story almost a week ago.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I had the pleasure of attending the San Jose Grand Prix this past weekend, and fortunately had a chance to see the new Panoz after Champ Car decided to display the car to the general public, something I did not expect with its release coming at a $300 a plate dinner.

      The car looks beautiful, even more so in person, and the Troy Lee Designs paint job that they have on that car makes it look incredible. The paint has a great shimmer to it when you get up close.

      One last comment I'd like to make is that this car seems much smaller than the current Lola Champ Car when you actually see it. It's much thinner, and perhaps slightly longer. It almost reminds me of the proportions of an old Indy Light or something. It's bigger than the Formula BMW, and bigger than the Champ Car Atlantic, but it's definitely smaller, which should be good for passing. It also looks sturdier than the Lola, especially around the rear of the car, which may further reduce cautions and improve the likelihood that one's favorite driver will not get taken out in some small incident.

      Anyway, the new car looks great, and I can't wait until next year!

      Two other bits of interest that I've heard were not broadcast to those not at the race: Frankie Munoz (Malcolm in the Middle), who is currently driving Formula BMW, announced he will be driving Champ Car Atlantics next season. He looked fairly good on the track, especially considering that he's only been driving for five months. He was solidly in the middle of the pack in both races before missing turn 6 and ending his day.

      Paul Tracy and Tag got into a fist fight after Tracy knocked Tag out. Tag was agitated and was very much in Tracy's face and kept pushing him and yelling at him. Tracy tried to walk away, but Tag wouldn't let him and then Tracy punched Tag (who was still wearing his helmet) hard enough to knock him over, and some people got in there and separated them before anything else could go down.

      All in all, it was a fun weekend!
      • 8 Years Ago
      that first pic and especially the last one shows this car to have a very F1 look to it. i don't mind that a bit personally. i'd love to see one of these cars go head to head with an F1 car on the same track. that would be way interesting
      • 8 Years Ago

      Takes a real driver to pilot one of these suckers around without traction control.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No, it's not reminicent of an F1 racer from 1980 (the seat is too far back, and the front tire diameter is totally wrong). Early '90s perhaps. Definitely DOES NOT look anything like a current F1 racer with all their endless tacky diffusers and winglets and extreme-to-the-max body add-ons. Classic-like CART/Champ Car clarity of design and purpose; very nice indeed. Shark gills are too cool. Pleased that they didn't adopt a dorsal airbox. Not keen on the paddle shifters; the old style was tradition. Paddles are too FIA. On-board starter is certainly a change for the better, though.

      But still, I hope that someday soon Champ Car will be able to dig itself out from under NASCAR's shadow and become more than a spec series. Single spec may save a lot of money, but competition amongst engine builders as well as chassis makers makes the series even more enticing, just as it was during CART's best years (seems SO long ago).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Beautiful car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      looks like F1 from '80
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3 It may look like F1 from 1980, but notice it has slicks, a turbocharger and other verboten goodies. Soon Bernie will mandate that the race has to take place on a computer in the name of safety. We'll all just imagine who won the race (Shumacher will win even on the computer).
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