2004 Panoz Esperante GTLM Pilots: B. Sellers, M. Franchitti, P. Bourdais Team: Panoz Motor Sports Race: DNF (GT2 class) at Le Mans in 2005 Spark - S0097 (resin)
Panoz, LLC is an American manufacturer of high performance sports cars founded in 1989. Since 1997 their cars competed in racing series all around the world. Probably the most famous of these cars is the Esperante, first introduced in 2000. The car had a hand-assembled lightweight aluminum body bonded to a modular extruded aluminum chassis bolted and bonded to steel sub-frames. The Esperante GTLM version of the car had a Ford Modular V8 with DOHC and 32 valves that was prepared by Elan Power Products (EPP). Because of the mandatory restrictors by ACO, the stock supercharger had to be removed and the 4.6 l displacement was enlarged to 4994 cm³, allowing almost 500 hp of output.
The car didn’t have much luck at La Sarthe in 2005, abandoning the race at the 185th lap with drive train problems. Bad luck in 2005 notwithstanding, this #78 is a true workhorse of a car. Chassis #IP9PB48303B213012 here started racing in mid 2004. It raced tracks to the end of 2009, participating in a total of 63 (!!!) races all over the world! Talk about racing pedigree…
I wanted to eventually get an Esperante, but it was pretty low on my list. So though completely off my radar, it suddenly popped up on a 2-fer deal. Detail-wise it’s your basic Spark, BUT the paint job could have been better. I don’t know if it’s just my model or the silver paint, but it looks too “thick” in my eyes. Still, quite okay at a distance, and a little better than LMP-1.