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Panoz Esperante GT1
A NEW Direction and Stunning Results
Panoz Photo Courtesy of: Rick
Steiger Motorsports Photography
Click NOW for More of Rick Steiger's Superb Photography!
By the end of 1998 it was painfully apparent that the Panoz was in need of a replacement. The front engine layout did offer some advantages: The drivers sat very close to the rear axle, making them very sensitive to oversteer. This helped them to minimize tire wear. However, although having a roof usually helps out Sportscar aerodynamics, the roof was located so far back that it hindered the effectiveness of the air flow to the rear wing. Something had to be done...

Chop top, anyone? In 1999 Panoz unveiled an open-top roadster version of the Coupe. The lack of a roof significantly cured the aerodynamic problems. Although many doubted its ability, the Panoz roadster shocked the 1999 Le Mans with a stunning 2nd place pre-qualifying effort. They again failed to produce an overall victory, but their competitors knew that Panoz had finally come into form.