1999-2002 Panoz LMP-1 Roadster S

Images copyright and courtesy Bob Chapman @ Autosport Image, Greg Cooper, James Davies, Juha Kivekas, Patrick Michl, Andrew Wong, and Michael J. Fuller
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller
The Panoz LMP-1 has quite a long traceable history for a contemporary and successful prototype.  How this prototype, with its roots based in a GT-1 chassis (see below) and having an unconventional front-engine location, was forged into a race winner is a surprising, yet impressive, feat. 

The front engine layout of the Panoz LMP means a higher percentage of the overall weight is at the forward end of the car.  This has the effect of allowing for more front downforce to be placed on the front axle and therefore larger front tires.  The front engine position pushes the driver back to nearly inline with the rear axle centerline.  The beneficial result is that the driver is better positioned in the chassis from a car feedback standpoint.  With all things being equal to a mid-engined LMP, the front-engined Panoz came with positive design benefits not available to mid-engined cars.  But ultimately everything comes down to a car's record, and that can't be ignored: three wins in '99 as well as the Manufacturer's Championship, one win in '00, two wins in '01, and two wins in '02.

1997-1998 Panoz GTR GT-1
Image copyright Greg CooperThe LMP-1's heritage began with the closed top Panoz GTR GT-1 car originally designed by Reynard Special Vehicle Projects directed by Nigel Stroud.  Shown here during its debut season in 1997, the GTR raced in the ALMS GT-1 category as well as in the FIA GT series.
Image copyright Greg CooperThe GTR evolved in '98 with an increase in the front and rear overhangs.  This helped push the rear wing further from the airflow-effecting greenhouse.  But the introduction of the revolutionary Toyota GT-One at Le Mans in '98 convinced the Panoz group to move up into the LMP category as certain design-architecture limitations (the cab rearward greenhouse) could not be overcome to bring the car's performance to Toyota level.
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1999-2002 Panoz LMP-1 Specifications
Designer: Andy Thorby
Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Monocoque: Carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque (Élan/DPS manufacture).  45,000ft.lb./deg. stiffness
Engine: Élan Power Products V8, 2 valves per cylinder; 2 x 33.1 mm air restrictors
Displacement: 6.0 liters
Horsepower: 620 bhp @ 7200 rpm
Torque: 538 lb-ft.@ 6500 rpm
Gearbox: X-Trac 6-speed, inboard, longitudinal, sequential
Steering: Power rack and pinion
Suspension (f/r): Upper & lower A-arms, coil-over springs w/ 4 way adj. tube shocks, adj. anti-roll bar/Upper & lower A-arms, coil-over springs w/ 4 way adj. tube shocks, adj. anti-roll bar 
Brakes (f/r): 15.0-in. vented discs – Hitco Carbon/15.0-in. vented discs – Hitco Carbon
Wheels: BBS, (f) 18 x 13-1/2, (r) 18 x 15
Tires: Michelin, (f) 33/65-18, (r) 37/71-18
Length: 4640 mm
Width: 2000 mm
Wheelbase: 2750 mm
Front Overhang: 910 mm
Rear Overhang: 980 mm
Weight: 908 kgs. (1999 Le Mans average)
920 kgs. (2000 Le Mans average)
933 kgs. (2002 Le Mans average)
933 kgs (2003 Le Mans average)
Tank capacity: 90 liters
Panoz LMP-1 in Action
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©Copyright 2003, Michael J. Fuller