Panoz completed the Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special’s six-month restoration at its headquarters in Braselton, Ga. in October. This only remaining Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special is the brand’s featured exhibit at the Dubai International Motor Show. Panoz fans can see it November 10-14 in Booth No. Z277, Hall ZAB2 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
When entrepreneur Don Panoz commissioned racecar designer Adrian Reynard to create the Esperante GTR-1 for his newly founded Panoz Motor Sport Group, it was the first front-engine prototype race car in more than 30 years of motorsports. Rules required homologation – building street-legal versions – in order to compete.
The Panoz Esperante GTR-1 with its 6.0-liter Ford-based V8 engine competed in international endurance racing in various forms from 1997 to 2003. And one version, the 1998 Panoz Q9 GTR-1 Hybrid – affectionately known as Sparky – was the first successful modern hybrid race car. In all, the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 scored 20 podium finishes with five overall wins and nine class victories.
While based on the very successful GTR-1 race car and constructed very similarly to its racing siblings, this Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special sports a full leather interior, is street legal, and is driven locally on occasion. Here are its basic specifications as currently configured:
- 600-plus horsepower, 500 lb ft of torque (estimate)
- ZF six-speed transaxle
- 1,980 lbs (898 kg)
- 175 inches long / 78 inches wide (444.5 cm / 198 cm)
- Brembo front discs, eight-piston, four-pad calipers
- Brembo rear discs, four-piston, four-pad calipers
- 285/40-R18 tires on 18 x 10.5-inch OZ Racing center-lock wheels
It has remained in the Panoz collection in Braselton its entire existence.