Panoz, an American and Le Mans.
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Panoz, an American and Le Mans.

In twelve years of existence, Petit Le Mans has carved a place in the history of motor racing. This very special status for the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is due to the passion of one man : Don Panoz.

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup - Petit Le Mans

In twelve years of existence, Petit Le Mans has carved a place in the history of motor racing. This very special status for the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is due to the passion of one man: Don Panoz.

The least we can say is that Don Panoz is a pioneer. He built his first fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, as the inventor of the nicotine patch. He then became the manufacturer of a very impressive looking race car, quickly nicknamed "Batmobile" and owner of the Road Atlanta circuit near Braselton Georgia USA.

Petit Le Mans was born in 1998, a race of 1,000 miles ( just over 1600 km) or ten hours. The first race was won by the prestigious Ferrari 333SP prototype driven by Emmanuel Collard, Wayne Taylor Eric van de Poele. In 1999, Don Panoz launched the American Le Mans Series based on Automobile Club de l'Ouest technical regulations and included Petit Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring as flagship events. That same year, the second running of Petit Le Mans saw the victory of David Brabham, Eric Bernard and Andy Wallace driving a Ford powered Panoz LMP1. With its aggressive lines, big sound and characteristic front engine, the Panoz roadster also became very popular in la Sarthe.

At the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans it was announced that the racing version of the Panoz Abruzzi (pictured above) is expected to debut at Petit Le Mans at the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. A fitting tribute to Don Panoz, who reinvented endurance racing as we know it today.