This is the Panoz GTR-1. This was the start of an era. It was designed and built originally by agent Reynard, the great race car builder in England.
It was the first in 30 some years to race as a prototype with the engine in the front. Of course everybody had put engines in the rear in prototypes, because they felt that was the advance of new technology and would carry things forward. And with a front engine car in those days, you had a 60 or 70 pound drivetrain from the engine to the gearbox.
Adrian Reynard figured out with the new technologies that were then coming, that we could do a drive shaft that will only weigh about six pounds.
But the trade-off was the power of the car and the balance by half an inch behind the axle and the gearbox their acts this car was originally the first ones were delivered to us about two weeks before Sebring in 1997. Paul Newman and Dick Landy were the two guys that tested it out when we got it.
Records of GTR-1
On Sebring in March and the first time on the track with Eric Bernard, who was one of our drivers at the time along. The first time on the track set the track record. There was a lot of intrigue in the paddock, because Andy Evans at that time around James and then professional sports car races.
Sanctioning body owned the Sebring track, had a race team who was driving a Ferrari in the race prototype, was recording on the radio calling back to the tower which was under his domain and saying, “What is this God damn car in front of me? I’ve been trying to pass it for the last hour and between our class and that, I should be able to pass it. And so we’ll have to penalize.”
Well as racing on chasm we got into the race, we set the track record. And being a new car we had an electrical glitch about the second lap I think. And a good chap was on the team by the name of Danny Binks he’s now with Corvette. I think literally got out on the track and almost carried this car all the way from turn one, all the way back to the paddock entrance and got it back in. And we did get it back on the track but we quit after eight hours, because there was no sense, we couldn’t win the race and was doing it. But for its first time ever on the track in competition to set a track record at an historic track like Sebring with all of its years. It’s the second oldest sports race car in the world. With all of its years of competition, I just think was phenomenal.
History of wins
The car went on to win a number of championships, team championships, driver championships. It raced both in professional sports car racing and raced in the USRRC. It later raced in the American Le Mans series but had a great track record; won a lot of races.
And it was the start and the basic architecture of the car that went onto become the Panoz LMP-1 cars and really did a phenomenal job. It’s different, I mean can you imagine being some poor little Porsche up there looking in your rear view mirrors and seeing this front getting bigger in those mirrors and taking up your view?
I mean this is a car that just says, “Hey I’m coming, watch out, don’t mess with me. We’re coming out of those corners, I’m gonna pass you.” And it did all of that, its reputation lived up to its looks.
I hope you all enjoyed this quick review of this Panoz Esperante GTR-1. Let me know in the comment section below. Have a nice day.
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPVYPuWPpAU