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]

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