Rain Dampens Multimatic Panoz Le Mans Assault

LE MANS, France (June 14th, 2006) – Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has completed the opening phase of qualifying at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with heavy rain lashing the circuit for the entire night.

While the #77 Panoz Esperante only recorded the 10th fastest time in the GT2 class at 4 minutes, 55.638 seconds, all three Multimatic drivers were able to complete their mandatory three qualifying laps under night time conditions.

With clearer skies predicted for tomorrow night’s second qualifying session, Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director Larry Holt is confident of a stronger showing.

“I certainly would have liked to have recorded a faster time, but we were able to complete the night without any major problems,” Holt said.

“We know we have a very fast car in the dry, but tonight showed we probably still have work to do if it remains wet for the rest of the week.

“The positive aspect is we were able to complete 31 laps without any car issues.

“The weather forecast is looking good for tomorrow, so we be working hard with Pirelli to get a tire combination that will allow us to challenge at the sharp end of the field.”

The second night of qualifying kicks off on Thursday at 7.00pm.  The final two-hour session runs from 10.00pm to midnight.


Scott Maxwell

“The first two hours was a bit of a lost session for everybody because the track never really dried so nobody could really do a proper time. We just worked on a rain set-up and hopefully it will be drier tomorrow, but if not, we at least have a set up to start with. Particularly in the first two hours, we really didn’t go for a quick time. It’s tricky here in wet conditions because there are so many pavement changes. Much of the circuit is public road so you get a lot of little bumps where water gathers so the grip can be pretty inconsistent. It can be a challenge because the level of grip you have can change 15-20 times per lap.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“We really took it easy because it can be so hard to know where the grip is and where the grip isn’t. I had one interesting moment at the second chicane where I locked everything up and had to do everything I could it was all I could do just to get the car turned. The challenge here in the wet can be to get heat into the tires quickly. The conditions certainly weren’t great and I really felt for Tom, it was a bit of an eye opener for him to have to do his first night laps in the wet.”

Tom Milner

“It was certainly interesting out there. On my first timed lap I locked up and went straight on at one of the chicanes and had to come back in to have the guys clean out some gravel. I wasn’t sure how we were placed in regards to everyone else but I was happy to go quicker than what we had run earlier in the night. The vibration we had at the test seems to have gone away and the engine ran strong so it has been a good start. It’s certainly hard to see out there in the wet, especially when there is a faster car in front of you. I went sailing past my brake marker at one point – that certainly got my attention when I went off.”