BRASELTON, Ga. — Panoz will return to GT racing this season as Team Panoz Racing will begin its first season of Pirelli World Challenge competition.
Led by motorsports veteran Tom Milner, Team Panoz Racing will field a two-car, full-season entry racing the new Panoz Avezzano sports car in the GTS class.
“After a few years of taking a step back from racing, I’m excited to be back and especially with my good friend Don Panoz and his team,” Milner said. “I’m very happy to have Ian join us and we plan on giving the competition a hard time.”
Team Panoz Racing also announced that sports car racer Ian James has been named the first of two team drivers. James will campaign the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano.
Hailing from England but now living in Arizona, James is one of only a handful of race drivers who has won races in the Prototype, GT, Grand Sport and Sport touring classes. James also has a Panoz history, having driven for Tom Milner and PTG Inc. when it fielded the Panoz Esperante in 2009 and the Panoz Abruzzi in 2010 and 2011.
“I am very excited to be back behind the wheel of a Panoz race car and entering the exciting World Challenge series,” James said. “The GTS platform is the wave of the future and I expect the new Avezzano to be a contender.”
Milner, as previously announced, is managing Panoz’s GT race program and development of the Panoz Avezzano race car. Panoz experts have been busy this fall/winter developing the Avezzano race car while ramping up production of the Panoz Avezzano street car, Panoz’s first new sports car since the Esperante.
The all-carbon fiber race car features a wide-body configuration with clear-coated carbon fiber splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser and GT race car style side exhausts.
The new Avezzano features the next-generation of the Panoz-designed extruded aluminum chassis; a completely new rear suspension design; and an upgraded suspension, brake and wheel package. Powering the Avezzano is a standard 6.2-liter, 450-plus horsepower Panoz/Èlan aluminum block V-8 mated to a heavy duty, close ratio six-speed manual transmission.
Avezzano street car production is under way, with first customer cars expected this summer.