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Panoz Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’

Panoz was never lauded as a manufacturer of particularly attractive cars. Unusual and exotic, perhaps, but not beautiful. We’re not quite sure how to describe the new Panoz Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’, unveiled this week at – appropriately enough – the Le Mans circuit, but we would again be unlikely to use the word ‘attractive’. However, it’s certainly attention-grabbing.

The new, hand-built car is, says Panoz, a front-engine, rear-transaxle, rear-radiator ‘super sports car’ – road-legal in Europe and many parts of Asia, the Middle East and South America. We’re told that the engine delivers at least 600HP, with 590ft lb of torque – but we’re not told what the engine is.

In fact, specific technical information is currently in short supply, although Panoz explains that the car uses the R.E.A.M.S.R body system. Since you ask, that’s the Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System (but please don't ask us what the final R stands for). It’s a multi-layer composite system that’s lighter than carbonfibre yet equally strong. “Unlike carbonfibre, however, it is dent-resistant, shatter-proof and recyclable,” says Panoz.

What we also know is that only 81 examples of the limited-edition Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ will be built, “corresponding to the number of Le Mans 24 Hour contests between the inception of the race in 1923 and the race to be held in 2013”.

Each car will be linked to a specific Le Mans 24 Hours race, with the individual chassis number including that specific race date and the initials of the winning drivers. Professional drivers will instruct new Panoz owners to drive their car on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans, while service and repairs will be attended to at the ACO facilities at the Le Mans circuit.

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Panoz

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