• Oct 15th 2009 at 5:29PM
  • 10

Panoz Esperante GT-LM - Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been a while since we've heard anything from Panoz Auto Development. The American sportscar manufacturer came onto the scene in the late Nineties with their AIV Roadster, and later went onto create various road and race versions of the Mustang-based Esperante. Around the same time company founder Danny Panoz started building cars, his father Don Panoz also started the the American Le Mans Series, vaulting the family business from automaker and race team to race series organizer.

In the past few years, Panoz has crafted several Le Mans prototype racers and even some Indy/Champ Car chassis. The company has achieved limited success with its front-engined LMP1 program, but the Esperante GT-LM racecar made history when it took GT2 class victories at both the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 2006. More recently, the company had been focusing its energies on a revolutionary new front-engine LMP1 design called Abruzzi to compete with the field of mid-engine rivals. Reports from the motorsport world, however, now indicate that Panoz has aborted the Abruzzi project in favor of a new GT2 program. But as we all know, GT racers are based on road cars, and that's exactly what Panoz appears to have in the works.

According to Autosport, Panoz decided against a purpose-built racing prototype in favor of a road car, and from that they plan make a racing version. Exactly what the car will be like is up to speculation at this point, but we're looking forward to finding out.

Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Autosport]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      For the new car, Panoz should approach the various and excellent transportation design colleges and academies around the country and ask the students to come up with a design. There are some amazing talent in these programs and the students would love the opportunity. The Esperante is an interesting car, pretty decent looking from the rear. But, on the whole, it is not an attractive road car... the price tag didn't help. Taking advantage of a design student competition would be a win-win.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I liked the exterior, the interior on the other hand was too parts bin-ish and mounting the Mustang gauge cluster on the center console and putting thay shroud around it was a really bad idea
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is Multimatic still producing the car?

      I know PTG runs it but who was originally responsible for the chassis development?

      I've seen it twice now at the Petit Le Mans. Definitely one of the best sounders in the field and seeing it go against the Vette, M3, 911, Comp Coupe, Robertson GT, and V8 Vantage is a real highlight of racing right now.

      GT2 is the best racing there is right now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are a whole slew of errors in this story.

        - The Esperante shares many components with the Mustang, but it's in NO way based on the Mustang
        - The Abruzzi was NOT the supposed "new" LMP1 that had been mentioned, it was a new road car that Panoz began development on years ago and we haven't heard much about since
        - The proposed "new" LMP1 was actually planned to be a chopped/modded/redone version of the OLD LMP1 made to 2010 specs and to run on bio-butanol. Panoz had a big dinner the weekend of Petit Le Mans at the Chateau Elan to try to bait potential investors, but none were found, so the program was binned
        - Next years' new GT2 will not be a "new" program, a new team, new car, or even new drivers. It WILL however feature an EVO spec version of the same Esperante GTLM that Team PTG ran this year, and we've seen in action for 6 seasons now. Team PTG will continue and Dominik Farnbacher and Ian James will continue to pilot the car. I'd expect it to be similar to 2002 when we saw an EVO spec version of the LMP1 prototype, but at the end of the day, the venerable Esperante GTLM will live on for at least 1 more season
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is Panoz still using SVT 4.6l DOHC 'Terminator' engines? 420hp (600hp for the racing versions) in a Miata sized car has to be ridiculously fun/Impeding death.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It’s about time! This is an amazing car but the looks just don’t fit in these times. I’ve been begging Panoz to come up with a new more aggressive design. They need to do something to compete with the Corvette in LeMans too though.
      I hope that they don’t go with GM engines, either go with newer or better Ford engines or engineer their own.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Awsome car. I remember watching a show (think maybe on Discovery?) where they followed the build of the road car form start to finish. Curious if they'll stay with the Ford engine or go to a GM one. Either way if its lightweight and powerful I'll add this to my dream wish list of cars to own.
    Share This Photo X