The Panoz Motor Sports Group has unveiled its latest road-going supercar, the Panoz Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” broke cover today at Le Mans' Circuit de La Sarthe. The hand-built Abruzzi features a 600-plus horsepower engine with 590 ft.-lbs. of torque. The front-engine, rear-transaxle and rear-radiator supercar will be road-legal in Europe and many countries of Asia, the Middle East and South America.
The cars will be built at Panoz Auto Development in Hoschton, Ga. Only 81 Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” vehicles will be built, corresponding to the number of Le Mans 24-hour contests between the inception of the race in 1923 and the race to be held in 2013.
“This is culmination of equal parts time, effort and dreams,” said company founder Don Panoz. "The Panoz brand always has prided itself on hand-building and delivering an exotic automobile and experience to our customers. Our new offering takes this to a completely new level.”
In addition to high performance, the company says the Abruzzi breaks new ground in environmental design and construction, incorporating a "Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System" in its bodywork that, Panoz says, "offers environmental, performance and structural advantages like no other automobile body system on the planet. Never used before on any road-going automobile, the multi-layer composite system is lighter than carbon fiber yet equally strong. Unlike carbon fiber however, it is dent-resistant, shatter-proof and recyclable."
The Abruzzi also features an advanced cooling system which, in addition to a normal high-efficiency radiator, features stage two and stage three systems that lower coolant temperature on both the inflow to and the outflow from the radiator.
“These are advancements that will open up a new era of automotive design,” Panoz said. “Dating back to our first road car, the AIV Roadster, PAD has been a believer in efficient construction and design. This philosophy continues with our Abruzzi.”
Abruzzi customers will take delivery of their cars at Le Mans. Each automobile will be linked to a specific Le Mans 24 Hour race, with the chassis number also containing that specific race date and the initials of the winning drivers and the history of that year. Professional drivers will instruct owners in driving the car on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans. Service and repairs also will be attended to at the ACO facilities of the Circuit 24 Hours of Le Mans.
New vehicle owners also will be invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans as guests of the ACO and Panoz at the ACO's hospitality facilities at the circuit. New owners also will have the unique opportunity to drive a parade lap of the full 8.3-mile circuit at that year's event.
During the Le Mans race week a “Spirit of Le Mans” reception will be held at the clubhouse of the famed Golf Des 24 Heuers in the historic town of Arnage. The new owners for that year will be the guests of the ACO officials and past “Spirit of Le Mans” award winners such as Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell.
“Being associated with the ACO and Le Mans is something very special to me,” Panoz said. “Being able to stand side by side with the heroes and legends of Le Mans gives me a sense of appreciation and passion for this grand event. I felt it was important to give our customers the same experience, and I am grateful to our partners at the ACO for helping make this happen.”
Panoz Auto Development produces leading-edge, fully certified automobiles and is best known for the first U.S.-manufactured AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle). the Panoz AIV Roadster. The Panoz Esperante body and chassis also extensively employs aluminum for performance, safety and efficiency. The Panoz Esperante GTLM won the GT2 category at both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006.