Deltawing, GTR-1 to complete Petit Le Mans demo runs in Panoz tribute

A DeltaWing coupe will return to the race track ahead of this weekend's Petit Le Mans IMSA enduro at Road Atlanta in tribute to the late Don Panoz

Deltawing, GTR-1 to complete Petit Le Mans demo runs in Panoz tribute

The demonstration of the DeltaWing-Mazda DWC13 prior to the start of the blue-riband endurance event established by Panoz in 1998 is part of a celebration of the life of the entrepreneur, who died last month at the age of 83.

The DeltaWing will be joined at the track he rescued in 1996 by a number of other cars fielded by the Panoz team over the past 20 years.

A Panoz Esperante GTR-1 that raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998 will undertake a one-lap demonstration together with the DeltaWing prior to the start of the IMSA SportsCar Championship finale on Saturday.

Cars on static display will include a Panoz LMP1-01 from 2002 and a recreation of the Esperante GT-LM that won the GT2 class at Le Mans in '06.

The DeltaWing will be driven by Johnny O'Connell, who claimed the first American Le Mans Series victory for Panoz at Mosport in 1999.

At the wheel of the GTR-1 will be Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen, who made his name in sportscar racing with Panoz and was O'Connell's team-mate at Mosport.

Panoz's wife Nancy said: "Don has a lot of history with the Road Atlanta track and this race.

"I'm very happy we can have two of his most iconic cars do a lap of the track and it's nice to have both Jan and Johnny back in a Panoz.

"I know that it would have made Don very happy."

Panoz was one of the investors in the DeltaWing project ahead of its 2012 appearance in the 'Garage 56' experimental grid spot at Le Mans.

His team took over the design for 2013 and continued to run the car in the American Le Mans Series and then the IMSA series until the end of '16.

Porsches to run in retro livery

Porsche will run a special livery on its cars in this weekend's round, resembling that of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 911 GT1.

The manufacturer's two 911 RSRs will contest the race sporting the white and blue colours made famous by Porsche's 1998 Le Mans triumph.

Petit Le Mans is the second major endurance race this year at which Porsche has run special liveries, after securing a one-two finish in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans with a pair of retro-themed RSRs.

The winning car sported the 'Pink Pig' livery used by Porsche on its 917 in 1971, while the second-placed car adorned the famous Rothmans colours made famous by the 956 and 962 Group C contenders of the 1980s.

IMSA regulars Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy are joined by Frederic Makowiecki in the #911, while Porsche young professional Mathieu Jaminet will team up with Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in the #912.

Usual third driver Gianmaria Bruni is on World Endurance Championship duty at Fuji.

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Series IMSA
Author Gary Watkins
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