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Panoz Esperante GT1
Struggling Through Le Mans in 1997 & 1998
The Battle for Le Mans Begins
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The first year at Le Mans in 1997 was not kind for the new Panoz GT1. The #52 Motorola sponsored car of Lagorce/ Bernard/ Boullion qualified on the outside of row 12 - hardly the sign of a good start. Even worse, the #55 car of Brabham/ McCarthy/ Bundy qualified on the inside of row 15, and the #54 Nescafe sponsored car of Wallace/ Weaver/ Leitzinger qualified on the inside of row 16.

The 1997 Le Mans race went no better, with all cars retiring due to various engine problems.
However, with its BATMOBILE looks and bellowing V8 soundtrack the Panoz became an instant crowd favorite. Panoz came back in 1998 with some significant revisions.