By Marshall Houston

Don Panoz, founder of Panoz Motor Sports and creator of the American Le Mans Series, a new racing series featuring the world's highest technology sports cars such as those in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has confirmed the team's intention to have a hybrid ready for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Sept 18th in Braselton, Georgia.

Panoz earlier in 1998 installed a hybrid drive train in a Panoz Q9 GT hard top which only missed qualification by 10 secs in the 98 24 Le Mans in France with a lap time of 3.53 min. Details of the Q9 were printed in the Electrifying Times Preview 2000 issue.

This 'Sparky' concept is a parallel hybrid, and involves installing a Zytec permanent magnet brushless DC motor independently coupled to the transaxel with a mid-engine Roush tuned Ford V8. The idea is to use both the gas V8 and electric motor when accelerating out of the corners and parts of the 200 plus mph straights, then use the electric motor as a brake going into the turns, recovering the braking energy via generator to the batteries (called regenerative braking). Hopefully this will reduce break wear and increase fuel efficiency and hence reduce the number of pit stops which is very important in a 24 hr Le Mans race.

This revolutionary racing drive train will be installed in a LMP-1 Spyder convertible whose Panoz gas version is running so well at present. The LMP-1 Spyder recently won at the Petit Le Mans series race at the PIR Raceway in Portland, Oregon. This revolutionary Panoz hybrid Spyder entry in the Road Atlanta Petit Le Mans could prove very advantageous and possibly an automatic entry to the following 24 Heures Du Mans in June 2000. It is also Don Panoz's intention to sell customer versions of the Spyder and he claims to already have one order in the book.

The Le Mans race fans are anxiously awaiting further developments on this hybrid technology! Plan to attend the Petit Le Mans 2000 in Atlanta and find out for yourself.

For further information and results check out:

last year's news -
Panoz at LeMans - No Hybrid?

PANOZ Q9 hybrid electric (Still going down) Electric Avenue - 10th May 1999.

Don Panoz has confirmed the team's intention to persist with the Q9 'Sparky' concept use electric motor for acceleration and braking) with a Spyder chassis due to be converted after Le Mans99. The car appeared at Road Atlanta in September for the Petit Le Mans. With the LMP-1 Spyder going so well at present, this proved a cunning plan as the Petit Le Mans alone can guarantee automatic entry to the following 24 Hours. The team tried to pre-qualify the original Q9 for the previous year's Le Mans.

It is also the marquee's intention to sell customer versions of the hybrid Spyder and claim to already have one order in the book. With rumors rife of a link up with G-Force (responsible for the Nissan R391), we await further developments! 4th May 1999 ( a few updates of pre qualifying at LeMans 99) Huge quantities of humble pie were consumed in the press room after pre-qualifying when the two new LMP-1 Spyders stole the limelight at pre-qualifying. Jan Magnussen on his first appearance at the track was second in the morning session with David Brabham going one better; still second in his session but less than 0.1 seconds behind Martin Brundle's Toyota that set fastest time of the day!

The Spyder is an evolution of the '98 car and it features a heavily revised aerodynamic package. The change in type has resulted in an intense weight saving program, and every effort has been made to achieve the minimum. The car's wheelbase has increased, along with the front and rear Track, to optimize the regulations and, together with the larger width LMP1 Michelin tires, this has improved the mechanical efficiency of the rubber contact patch with the track surface.