Panoz, the Georgia-based manufacturer of exclusive luxury sports cars, is rolling into the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this week with its 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT sports cars and a car that changed prototype sports car road racing – the 2012 DeltaWing Roadster race car.
The DeltaWing Roadster, like the Claro/Tracfone DeltaWing Racing Cars DWC13 Coupe competing in the IMSA-sanctioned 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, proved it could compete with technology and not just brute horsepower. Both cars are about half of the weight, have half the drag, need roughly half the horsepower, and consume half of the fuel of other race cars in its class, yet they deliver the same performance.
The new Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT sports cars commemorate the Panoz motorsports heritage and Panoz sports cars of the past 25 years. The company is building no more than 25 examples, intentionally limiting production to ensure they remain special and maintaining the company goal of creating America’s most exclusive, custom hand-built sports cars.
The Esperante Spyder features a 430-horspower, naturally aspirated V8 mated to a heavy duty, close-ratio Tremec® T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available as an option. The Spyder GT ups the game with a supercharged 560-horsepower V8 engine.
Both cars wear the proven and lightweight SPF (Superplastic Forming, commonly referred to as ‘super formed’) aluminum bodies revolutionized on previous Panoz models and a process later used by some of the world’s most elite vehicle manufacturers. Both cars make ample use of aluminum, carbon fiber and other lightweight composite materials to ensure the total package remains light.
Key new features include the car’s namesake Spyder open-cockpit, two-seat configuration with its visually dynamic carbon fiber panel that conceals the functional twin roll hoops, and a new, shorter windshield reinforced by tubular steel A-pillars and featuring an all-new carbon fiber windshield frame.
The Spyder GT also has other features that differentiate it from the Spyder, including its wide body carbon composite and aluminum panels, side exhausts like the Panoz Esperante GT2 race car, clear-coated carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber rear diffuser and side skirts, wider front and rear wheels, and Brembo brakes on all four corners. For those desiring more power, Panoz and Élan Power Products can custom build engines producing 800-plus horsepower.
The Esperante Spyder and Esperante Spyder GT are available for order. Prices are $179,120 and $204,750, respectively.
Both cars and the DeltaWing Roadster will be on display in the DeltaWing and Panoz display at the 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The DeltaWing Roadster
The DeltaWing began as an IndyCar Series concept and debuted at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. When IndyCar chose the Dallara concept, this did not end the DeltaWing journey. Later that year the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, proposed Garage 56 for the 2012 race. This would be a 56th race car from outside the ACO rules provided it demonstrated green, environmentally friendly technology.
The DeltaWing Roadster, driven by Marino Franchitti, Michael Krummand and Satoshi Motoyama, raced as the inaugural Garage 56 entrant. It posted lap times rivaling some LMP2 teams and achieved fuel economy 40 percent better than the Audi R18 TDI diesel race, one of the most fuel efficient racecars in Le Mans history. It retired after 75 laps following an on-track incident, but proved the design’s potential.
It raced in the 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season with a new 350-horsepower, four-cylinder turbocharged engine from Élan Power. At the August Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America – the DeltaWing Roadster’s last race – drivers Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge led for 16 laps and finished fifth overall, marking the first time the DeltaWing led a race. The DeltaWing Roadster race car then retired from competition. Today it resides in the Panoz Museum in Braselton, Ga.
The DeltaWing DWC13 Coupe debuted at the next ALMS race, held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It now competes in the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as the Claro/Tracfone DeltaWing Racing Cars DWC13 Coupe. Its next race is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, to be held March 19-21, 2015 at Sebring International Raceway.