2000 Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S test car Ixo - LMM140 (diecast)
Panoz introduced the iconic Esperante GTR-1 in 1997. Developed by Panoz Auto Development and Reynard Motorsport specifically for GT endurance racing, it was an oddball. Its exotic lines earned it the nickname Batmobile, however it wasn’t unique because of its looks. The GTR-1 was a front-engine prototype, something motorsports hadn’t seen in decades. Donald Panoz wanted his car to “look American”, so the engine went to the front. The GTR-1 raced in the GT1 class all over Europe and the US, participating from the FIA GT Championship to the ALMS. At La Sarthe, the car raced in 1997 and 1998, finishing in seventh place overall in 98. However, in the end of 1998, FIA abolished the GT1 class. The GT1 could be adapted to the new LMGTP class, but Panoz decided to start fresh. They developed a new car, the LMP-1 Roadster-S. Front-engined, of course.
The new LMP-1, designed for the new LMP class, carried over many traits from the Esperante. It had the same carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis, but now as an open roadster. The engine, a Ford V8 developed by Élan, displaced 5976 cm³ and had 16 valves and SOHC. Yes, an “American engine”, but capable of 620 hp. All those horses went to the rear wheels through an X-Trac 6-speed transmission. Panoz produced a total of eight LMP-1 Roadster-S, during 1999 and 2000, and they raced until 2001.
TV Asahi / Team Dragon acquired two LMP-1 for the 2000 24 Heures du Mans. One was the first LMP-1 Reynard built in 1999, chassis #01, and the other (chassis #006) was from 2000. At Le Mans, on test day (April 30th) chassis #01 qualified in 15th while #006 qualified in seventh. On race day (June 18th) chassis #01 carried number #22, while #006 was #23. Car #22 finished in eighth place overall while #23 finished in sixth. That year there were five LMP-1 Roadster-S in the race, distributed among three teams. They finished in fifth, sixth, eighth, fifteenth and a DNC. Not bad AT ALL for an out-of-the-norm front-engine car.
In scale, Ixo makes a VERY nice reproduction of the LMP-1 Roadster-S. Just like with my Team Panoz car, the detail level is very good. That model was my sixth 1:43, and at the time it really impressed me. LMP-1 #12 was my first Ixo and also when I learned that “Ixo good” was good enough for me. This model represents either chassis #01 or chassis #006, as the car arrived for testing at Le Mans in April of 2000. However, there’s no way of knowing which chassis the model is. In my eyes, it’s one of the two cars just as they were unloaded from the transport truck. All in all, a truly nice model of a very unique car.