A new car is coming to Le Mans. Its creators are hailing the car as “revolutionary,” and Don Panoz referred to the car as, “my Holy Grail.” That’s right, Panoz is returning to Le Mans.
Green4U Technologies, which incorporates the DeltaWing Technology Group will be unveiling their car just prior to the upcoming Le Mans race at a press conference entitled, “Panoz returns to Le Mans.” Although the main headline of the conference is direct, the nature of Panoz’s return to the French endurance race remains unclear.
Panoz first raced at Le Mans in 1998 with a car well ahead of it’s time. The car nicknamed “Sparky,” was built on the radical looking Esperante GTR-1’s base and became a fan favorite among race goers. Panoz’s program evolved into a full-fledged prototype effort in the IMSA series stateside from 1999-2002, winning eight races in that span.
The manufacturer returned with its involvement in the DeltaWing program, which ran from 2012-2016 in the IMSA series, as well as a garage 56 entry at the 2012 Le Mans race. With IMSA’s new Dpi format coming, the final race for the DeltaWing occurred at the 2016 24 Hours of Daytona. A mid-race retirement due to an accident erased possibly the cars best chance at winning a significant race, having lead a large portion of Daytona until that point.
A garage 56 entry for either the 2018 or 2019 Le Mans remains the most likely avenue for the new Panoz. Presumably a hybrid or possible even a fully electric prototype. One cannot help but wonder if the ACO and FIA can arrange for an electric prototype to compete in the full WEC calendar. More likely, the car will stay true to the formula Panoz have used in the past, competing occasionally in Le Mans, while focusing primarily on the big endurance races stateside like Daytona, Sebring, and Petit Le Mans.
Regardless of the depth of the program, there seems to be no shortage of excitement surrounding the upcoming car reveal. Keep an eye out for a flood of announcements in the upcoming weeks ahead of Le Mans. The ACO and FIA will be an active bunch in the sixteen days remaining until the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.