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Splendid Auto Monthly - A Motoring Man's Meanderings (Gavin Anderson's Blog)


#61

Another round of test drives from Geneva 2018; this time, the much talked about Montes Roadster gets a test drive, as well as the Cornaldier Sprinter and the Caliban Thunder.


#62

Four more fresh test drives of the latest cars concludes coverage of this year’s Geneva International Motor Show.


#63

Gavin goes for a drive in the newest creation from Korean make Kishiwo.


#64

Review: Erin Tauga Enso Edition

“The motoring version of the gym freak”

Cheers to @ramthecowy for tuning this beast!


#65

Insane, and I like it.


#66

Excellent review, and car.


#67

I know this is probably a dumb question, but how do i get my car reviewed here?


#68

Send it via PM to me :smiley:


#69

thanks for the answer, whenever i finish a good model i’ll do


#70

Ooh is it that simple?


#71

Yes. And then it gets added to a big list of “things Gavin will eventually get round to”


#72

I have something interesting that would be a cool used car review :smirk:


#73

The S.A.M. office was sombre and quiet this morning as everyone had gradually heard the sad news last night that we had lost one of the most important people in modern motorsport. Don Panoz’s contributions to endurance and sportscar racing have to be measured on a scale that is almost incomprehensible in size; he lived and breathed motor racing.

Panoz’s most significant contribution was undoubtedly the founding of the American Le Mans Series in 1999, coming at just the right time to keep prototype racing alive. After the folding of the BPR Global GT series and the start of the FIA GT Championship, there was a huge black hole to fill for LMP machines. Panoz swept in in 1998 hosting the first Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, where it formed part of the last original-format IMSA GT season. One year later, he would help found the ALMS, and within a few years it would propel itself to becoming the definitive endurance racing championship anywhere in the world at the time.

On the topic of Road Atlanta, Panoz bought the track in 1996 after it went through yet another bankruptcy. The iconic circuit, a fan favourite for US motorsport enthusiasts, had struggled for decades, but remains open and in fantastic condition thanks to Panoz, who also made it the base of operations for his own team Panoz Motorsports.

As well as ALMS, Panoz also helped start the Women’s Global GT Series. Whilst only running for two seasons in 1999 and 2000, it helped create opportunity where there had been none for female racing drivers. Sadly, the lack of sponsorship attention killed the series financially, with such an idea yet to replicated on the scale Panoz envisioned.

It was not just the racing series, however, where Panoz had an impact. The Esperante GTR-1 remains to this day one of the most iconic race cars of all time, being aptly nicknamed the Batmobile. The combination of that classic long nose 2 door coupe design couple with suitably 90s flourishes and massive fenders made it an instant classic, yet it was also a technical marvel. Outstandingly reliable and incredibly capable, it remained highly competitive throughout its 6 year run time, happily matching mid engine competitors despite being a front engined machine.

It would also become the test bed for one of the first ever racing-focused hybrid systems; the 1998 Q9 Hybrid version of the car was far too heavy to be competitive, but utilised regenerative braking and an electric motor to assist the rear wheels, promising better fuel efficiency and serious torque off the line. Perhaps it was a little too ahead of its time, but keep in mind that Panoz were far, far less well funded than rival teams, and yet still pushed for innovations like this.

Most fascinating about this fascinating car, however, is the fact it holds a unique record. Only two single car marques have ever each competed in the FIA GT Champsionship, 24 Hours of Le Mans, IMSA GT series, United States Road Racing Championship and the American Le Mans Series. One, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the Porsche 911. The other is the Panoz Esperante GTR-1.

Panoz’s contributions to motorsport go far beyond what has been included in this obiturary, which include further racing with Panoz Motorsports, ventures into Indycar and the formation of the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. More than anything else, however, it was his dedication and passion for motorsport that had the greatest impact of all. Don Panoz, was, at the end of the day, an entrepreneur, and one who was willing to push boundaries and do things others could not see worth in. To take him out of motorsport would be like taking The Rolling Stones out of rock music, taking Da Vinci out of the Renassiance, taking the Roman Empire out of history; we simply would not be where we are today without him.

A man who truly lived and breathed motorsport, and one whose contributions to racing will continue to be felt for decades to come.

Don Panoz, 1935-2018