Not all the cars at the 2014 SEMA Show are covered in wild paint jobs, fitted with wheels the size of moons and featuring obscene amounts of horsepower. Some, like the Panoz Esperante Spyder GT 25th Anniversary Edition, just look like very good sporty cars.
After a few years out of the production auto business, Panoz is making cars again, and it's returning with the limited-edition Esperante Spyder GT to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary building cars. This week, Don Panoz swings by Jay Leno's Garage to talk about the latest model, and then Jay takes a drive in it with the company's lead (and only) engineer.
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.
Less than a month since the Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT 25th Anniversary Editions were first shown in very rough prototype form, Panoz has finished the first car – a standard Spyder – with an aluminum body painted in eye-catching red paint with carbon fiber accents and a tan leather interior. For the moment, it sits in the entranceway of the company's new headquarters in Georgia.
Panoz forged a legacy of creating race-winning endurance and open wheel cars through the late-1990s and early-2000s, but the company has been relatively quiet for the past few years. However, with its 25th anniversary looming, the American sports car brand appears to be on a comeback. It's prepping several new models and opening a new headquarters in Georgia on April 3.
Similarity is bound to occur in an industry where most of the products follow the same basic formula. But once in a while a new design comes along that doesn't quite reinvent the wheel, but comes pretty damn close. The DeltaWing project was one such design – and Nissan, the car's designers allege, stole that design.
Panoz, an automaker that specializes in building endurance racers, has announced it will build you any of its machines - road car or racecar - for the street, Endurance-Info reports. That's great news for people who've always dreamed of driving a road-legal racecar, and even better news for people who can afford one of the bespoke creations.
The development of the DeltaWing is making a break and taking a left turn, with a report on Speed revealing that almost none of the partners who helped make the car possible are involved in its racing plans for 2013. That includes Ben Bowlby, the man who dreamed it up, Dan Gurney's All American Racers, Highcroft Racing and Nissan – all of them have apparently stepped away. The only potential supplier left is Michelin, and it's only potential because Michelin hasn't commented on the matter.
In pretty much any racing series you go to, the cars tend to progress in an evolutionary, not revolutionary fashion. This year's crop of Formula One cars, for example, may have those ungainly stepped noses, but they otherwise look pretty much the same as last year's cars, which looked mostly the same as the cars the year before and the year before that, and so on and so forth. The same could be generally said of Indy, Le Mans prototypes...even stock cars. The DeltaWing project, however, is anoth
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