Young Guns Grab Top Five as Accident Damage Takes Out Maxwell and Brabham at Laguna

MONTEREY, CA (October 23rd, 2006) – Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz suffered an unfortunate ending to its 2006 American Le Mans Series assault with the #50 Panoz forced out of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event due to accident damage.

Scott Maxwell was in the middle of a pack of cars heading for turn 10 when the Horag Lista Lola of Fredy Lienhard spun in front of him. The Canadian went for a gap on the inside only for the Lola to roll back towards the apex.

The impact caused major damage to both cars and Maxwell quickly returned to pit lane. However the damage – which included broken left front suspension, radiator, power steering cooler and steering rack – was too severe to repair.

David Brabham started the race in the #50 car and handed over to Maxwell after 94 minutes in 4th position. Maxwell held that position until the two hour mark when the accident happened.

The #51 Panoz Esperante GTLM of Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner finished the race in fifth place, Jeannette dropping from fourth in the dying stages of the race after suffering power steering problems.

The pairing were unlucky to lose the best part of a lap early in the race when Milner was passed by the race leading Creation prototype at the start of a yellow flag safety car period. The leading GT2 cars were able to continue around the track to join the back of the pack – leaving Milner stuck behind the race leader.

“That was a pretty tough way to finish the year for us – it was certainly the biggest wreck of the year,” Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“I’m not sure whether the Lola got helped into the spin but there were cars everywhere and Scott was in a pack which included an Aston, a Ferrari and the Dyson car.

“Scotty went for a gap but the Lola guy must have got off the brakes and rolled towards him because that corner has a fair amount of camber on it. The Lola rolled right into Scotty’s path and he had nowhere to go – there was nothing he could really do.

“The damage ran pretty deep into the car, there was no way we could have got him back out during the race.”

While disappointed with the demise of the #50 car, Holt was full of praise for the #51 crew who had their share of misfortune in finishing fifth.

“All the drivers really did a fantastic job today – in fact they have been brilliant all year,” Holt said.

“Tom was passed by the leader under yellow which really put the #51 guys at a disadvantage. I protested pretty heavily to IMSA but without any luck.

“Gunnar was unlucky at the end because we had a slow leak in the power steering. That jerked the wheel out of his hands at one stage. Those guys did a really solid job and could have ended up on the podium with a bit of luck.

“The Ferrari was pretty untouchable but the speed of our cars on the weekend was very pleasing.

“I have to thank Sean Mason and our guys who did a brilliant job preparing the cars all year. In recent seasons the Esperante has had major reliability problems that kept forcing it out of races.

“Multimatic has turned that around significantly and our reliability has gone up by an order of magnitude. Getting both cars to finish major events like Petit Le Mans is an clear indication of that.”


David Brabham

“The car was going really well at the start and I managed to get up to third at one stage. It is unfortunate how things finished up but Scotty really had nowhere to go. There was quite a lot of damage – all the way back to the steering rack. It has certainly been a year of ups and downs but we have shown very good pace at times. Our consistency hasn’t been as good as we would have liked and that is a bit disappointing for the team because they have worked tirelessly throughout the entire year.” 

Scott Maxwell

“For me it was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. David had a really good stint to start the race and this weekend Pirelli gave us a tire we could race well with. I had a little issue with locking brakes but the car was pretty good. When I saw the accident I was committed to the inside but the Lola came down in front of me. The damage was pretty bad which was disappointing. If not for the accident, at worse we could have ended up fourth but we were a big chance for a podium here.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“It looked like we were going to finish fourth again but I had an issue with the power steering with about 15 minutes to go. I was trying to hold on, but I had a small off coming out of the corkscrew and lost a position. The car was actually pretty decent and quite consistent which was great. We didn’t have anything for the pace of the Ferrari but the Panoz ran pretty well. It was just unfortunate that we lost that lap with the safety car deal early – we never got the chance to make it up again.”

Tom Milner

“The car was pretty good during the race although the start didn’t go so well for me – I had some contact with a Porsche early on. My first set of tires didn’t have a really good balance but the car was much better once I got new tires on the next stop. Losing the lap early didn’t help. I tried to get back past the Creation when he passed me under yellow but I couldn’t catch him back – he was still going pretty quick right up until he met the safety car. Gunnar did a great job at the end without the power steering – he was pretty spent when he got out of the car.”