New Car: 2011 Panoz Abruzzi


Panoz has teased us with several close-cropped images of its upcoming sports car, but the cover has finally been lifted. The Georgia-based company unveiled the new Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” coupe earlier today at the Circuit de La Sarthe in France, which is home to the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

“[The Abruzzi] is a culmination of equal parts time, effort, and dreams,” said Don Panoz. “The Panoz brand always has prided itself on hand-building and delivering an exotic automobile experience to our customers. Our new offering takes this to a completely new level.”

If the Spirit of Le Mans suffix didn’t clue you in, the Abruzzi is very much inspired by Panoz’ past Le Mans race cars, especially the roadsters and coupes it fielded in LMP and GTR1 classes, respectively. The slinky body is designed to incorporate the company’s new three-stage cooling system, which incorporates a rear-mounted radiator and air intakes integrated into the rear and side quarter windows.

The sophisticated cooling system will likely be necessary for the Abruzzi’s monstrous engine. For now, Panoz hasn’t detailed the engine specs, but says it will produce 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. That’s impressive, but coupled with the new composite material Panoz developed for the car, it’s likely to be blessed with an astonishingly low curb weight. The REAMS material is reportedly dent resistant, completely recyclable, and is both stronger and lighter than carbon fiber.

Corresponding to the car’s exotic nature, Panoz will only build 81 examples of the Abruzzi -- one for each 24 Hours of Le Mans race held from 1923 to 2013 (the year Abruzzi production will cease). The vehicle will be so intrinsically linked to the race that Panoz will incorporate the specific race date and initials of the winning driver in each chassis number.

Panoz will also deliver completed vehicles in a very Le Mans-centric way. Each car will be hand-built in Hoschton, Georgia, and then shipped to the Circuit de la Sarthe. There, the new owner will receive driving instruction on the Bugatti circuit of the track. New owners will be invited to attend the race as guests of the ACO -- a major sponsor of the Le Mans enduro -- but they’ll be invited to drive a parade lap around the track next year.

Pricing for the car has not yet been released, but unfortunately for those hoping to grab one in the U.S., it won’t be street legal in this country. Panoz says that the car will only be homologated for street-use in Europe.
Thanks to: Motor Trend



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