Panoz Esperante GTR-1

The Panoz Esperante GTR-1 thundered its way into race fans’ memories with its cacophonous V8 roar and blistering pace on the world’s sports car endurance racing circuits. Today an important part of the GTR-1’s history returns – the original street-legal 1997 Panoz Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special that was created so the iconic front-engine Esperante GTR-1 race car could compete in the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and other endurance racing events.

Panoz completed the Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special’s six-month restoration at its headquarters in Braselton, Ga. in October. This only remaining Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special is the brand’s featured exhibit at the Dubai International Motor Show. Panoz fans can see it November 10-14 in Booth No. Z277, Hall ZAB2 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

When entrepreneur Don Panoz commissioned racecar designer Adrian Reynard to create the Esperante GTR-1 for his newly founded Panoz Motor Sport Group, it was the first front-engine prototype race car in more than 30 years of motorsports. Rules required homologation – building street-legal versions – in order to compete.

The Panoz Esperante GTR-1 with its 6.0-liter Ford-based V8 engine competed in international endurance racing in various forms from 1997 to 2003. And one version, the 1998 Panoz Q9 GTR-1 Hybrid – affectionately known as Sparky – was the first successful modern hybrid race car. In all, the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 scored 20 podium finishes with five overall wins and nine class victories.

While based on the very successful GTR-1 race car and constructed very similarly to its racing siblings, this Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special sports a full leather interior, is street legal, and is driven locally on occasion.

Source: Panoz Press

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