Both Panoz Esperantes in Top Four for Multimatic at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, GA (September 30th, 2006) – Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has pulled off its best team result of the 2006 season with the Toronto-based squad finishing third and fourth in the GT2 class at Petit Le Mans.

David Brabham, Scott Maxwell and Sebastien Bourdais scored their second podium result of the year with third place at Road Atlanta. The trio opened the 2006 season with victory together in GT2 at Sebring.

Gunnar Jeannette, Tom Milner and Panoz newcomer Andy Lally finished in fourth place at the end of the 1000 mile classic – the second consecutive fourth place finish for Jeannette and Milner who scored the same result at the last round at Mosport.

The #50 Panoz clinched the final podium position in the dying moments of the race after Bourdais was initially passed by the BMW of Bill Auberlen shortly after the final safety car period.

The two-time Champ Car World Series title-holder then began a chase of the former Panoz driver, closing the gap from 2.8 seconds down to only .493 of a second during a five lap run.

With Bourdais applying the pressure, Auberlen then made an error at corner 10A, spinning into the sand trap after bouncing off the inside kerb.

The result elevated both Panoz machines to third and fourth place – positions they held to the checkered flag.

“The racing at the end between Sebastien and Bill Auberlen in the BMW was a colossal battle – it was really amazing to watch,” Multimatic Motorsports Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“I feel sorry for Billy who threw it off but he was under huge pressure from Sebastien who did a fantastic job again. Seb really is an incredible talent and we are delighted that he was able to race with us a couple of times this year.

“I am very pleased with third and fourth but the day could have been a lot brighter. Our race was all about tire conservation because we had a construction problem with the tires.

“The outside surface of the left rear was collapsing after about 25 laps. If we pushed too hard, the tire went away very quickly. We really had the quickest car out there but our engineers Rob Taylor and Jean-Francois Chretien made a great call to get the guys to nurse the rubber throughout their stints.

“The cars ran impeccably all day and that is a great credit to Sean Mason and the boys. Last year the Esperante’s had major mechanical problems at this race but this year the cars were faultless. That is the job that Don Panoz hired us to do and I am very proud of my guys.”


David Brabham

“We had to try very hard to just keep the tires under the car. All the guys could drive a lot quicker but we couldn’t sustain that pace at all which is a bit disappointing. I’m really pleased that we managed to salvage a third spot and it is always nice to get on the podium. We basically worked on a plan of running to a specific lap time to try to conserve the rubber. Overall to grab third and fourth is a great result for the team.” 

Scott Maxwell

“It was a good result for us today – I really don’t think we could have hoped for much better because of the way we had to nurse the tires. It was a little frustrating that we couldn’t chase hard all day. The first few laps when I started the car I felt we had a chance to challenge strongly but the grip problem hit us hard the handling deteriorated really quickly. It took a lot of discipline from all three of us to ensure we could keep going all day and not throw the car off the road.”

Sebastien Bourdais

“After the first 20 minutes when Scotty had to pit early at the first yellow, I never would have thought we could have ended up on the podium. We really had to tune it down and run to a dictated pace. There was no use being really fast for eight laps, then throwing it away. I had a great fight with Bill at the finish. He was on fresh tires after the last yellow and he surprised me a bit to go by pretty quickly. I didn’t give up and started catching him back and luckily for us he made a mistake.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“It was a pretty strong result for the whole team and the guys did a great job with the car all week. I tried to push early and the grip went away quickly and I tried again in my second stint when I was chasing a Ferrari and had the same problem. The grip would just fall away and we had to drive to a time. Tom and Andy did a great job all day and we were in contention for a podium but it wasn’t to be this week.” 

Tom Milner

“It is really nice for Gunnar and I to get a good result in a 10 hour race like this, especially after the bad luck we had early in the year. The car ran faultlessly all day but the left rear kept giving up on us early – only part way into our stints. The end result was probably was good as we could have hoped. We kept our noses clean and that was part of the secret to success today.

Andy Lally

“It is a little tough to be so close to a podium and fall short but overall I am really pleased with my Panoz debut. The Multimatic crew are a great bunch of guys and it was a pleasure to be part of the team this week. They had good logical strategies and I was really welcomed with open arms – it was a real pleasure to be part of the team. I’d love to do more, the Panoz is really great to drive.”