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Panoz aiming for Le Mans return with electric Garage 56 entry

American sportscar manufacturer Panoz has revealed the car it hopes will mark its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in a presentation at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Thursday.

The GT-EV is a four-wheel drive, battery-powered GT car designed to run in the special Garage 56 category of the French enduro.

Its primary goal is to match the speed and range of current petrol and hybrid racing machines using a single battery pack, before changing batteries in the same time it would take to refuel a conventional car.

Panoz said the concept, which has been named the Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV, is the “holy grail” for his team.

“We’re debuting it here at Le Mans because of this iconic race’s history where the brightest and most ambitious and tenacious competitors always push the motorsports and automotive boundaries,” he said.

“We pushed the boundaries when we brought Sparky [the 1998 Panoz Q9 GTR-1 Hybrid] and the DeltaWing to Le Mans, and we’ll do the same with the all-electric GT-EV.”

“I don’t see reason to waste time doing what everyone else is doing,” he added, “so why not do something new?”

The car creates a total power output of 450 kW through electric motors mounted in the front and rear axles, and has a projected top speed of 180 mph.

It will be based on a carbon fibre chassis, with an offset closed cockpit on the left side of the frame.

The company also has plans to put the GT-EV into production, with Panoz stating “this car is representing the GT road car of the future.”

Although Panoz is waiting for acceptance of its Garage 56 status by the ACO, it has hinted that terms have been met and even suggested running the car at the Daytona 24 Hours.

The marque most recently entered Le Mans under the DeltaWing banner in 2012. Previously, it ran the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 to seventh place in 1998, and the LMP900-class Roadster-S which achieved a best result of fifth.

Source: Motorsport Week