The late delivery of key parts forced Benjamin Leuenburger and the rest of Team Panoz onto the sidelines at Petit Le Mans. However, the team are now aiming to enter the brand new Panoz Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” in the 6 Hours of Zhuhai next month.
“Some parts which were delivered from suppliers just didn't come in time. So in the final stages, the whole schedule came to a halt,” says Leuenburger about the team's disrupted preparations. The delays led to the car only being completed the day before the 1000mile race at Road Atlanta, and only arrived at the track on the morning of the race itself – two days too late to enter the event.
However, the car – in race livery – was able to complete a demonstration lap before the start of the race, the car running perfectly from the moment the start button was pressed.
The team now hopes to debut the car at the Chinese Zhuhai track when it hosts the final round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge (ILMC) on November 5-7. But before the car is loaded for the journey Leuenburger will get the chance to test the new car before its first race.
“I just extended my stay in the US for some couple of days,“ Leuenberger, 28, says. “We will test the new Panoz this week. Immediately after the test, car and parts will be loaded into a container and shipped to China. It's too bad that we couldn't race with the Panoz on home turf at Road Atlanta, especially as there was a record crowd this year of more than 120.000 spectators. But now I'm really looking forward to a successful race debut at Zhuhai.”