When the Nissan ZEOD RC limped to the side of the Circuit de la Sarthe a mere five laps into this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, we imagine that a certain American motorsports figure at least smirked a little. Don Panoz's ongoing feud with Nissan probably means he wasn't sorry to see the arrow-shaped racecar's poor showing, and now he's stepping up his campaign against his former racing partner.
For those who need a refresher, back in 2012, Panoz and Nissan teamed up to field the DeltaWing, an innovative, wedge-shaped racer, as the first entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans' experimental Garage 56 concept. The car rapidly became a fan favorite. The Panoz/Nissan alliance didn't last, though, and before long, the DeltaWing's designer was getting a paycheck from Nissan and the ZEOD RC racer arrived. Shortly after that, Panoz began mulling over a lawsuit alleging intellectual property infringement. The American motorsports icon would eventually pull the trigger on a suit back in December of 2013.
Panoz's latest move in the ongoing feud involves an open letter in both The Nashville Tennessean, the paper that serves Nissan's US headquarters, and trade paper Automotive News. The letter calls out Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn directly, and points out some of the similarities between the DeltaWing and the ZEOD RC, going so far as to quote the original car's designer, Ben Bowlby.
Of course, this is just the latest in a feud that has no sign of ending. We'll keep our eyes open for Nissan's response. In the meantime, hop up top and click on the lead image to read the entire open letter from Panoz to Ghosn.