Don Panoz, the man behind many successful businesses ranging from automotive development and manufacturing and racing to international resorts and pharmaceutical breakthroughs, has been named the Grand Marshal of the 2014 Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance to be held Sept. 14, 2014 at the Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
This is the 22nd annual Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance. The 2014 theme is automotive innovation and the featured marques are Tucker and Cord. Past Grand Marshals include Carroll Shelby, Andy Granatelli, Parnelli Jones, Peter and Merle Mullin, Jack and Helen Nethercutt, Bob Bondurant and Peter Brock.
“Don really is the perfect Grand Marshal,” said Peter Kunoth, Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance chairman. “His automotive and motorsports accomplishments, such as leading the DeltaWing endurance racing team and working to bring its technology to street cars, demonstrate his pioneering spirit and focus on innovation.”
Panoz is chairman of DeltaWing Technologies Inc. and is working with international auto manufacturers to bring the groundbreaking DeltaWing® architecture – a highly aerodynamic and lightweight design currently competing in IMSA sports car endurance road races in the form of the DeltaWing race car – to the street. Intended as a solution for manufacturers facing the more stringent CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025 and tougher emissions standards, the platform offers efficiency benefits whether using small, light and efficient gas or diesel powertrains, alternative fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG), or today’s and tomorrow’s hybrid and all-electric powertrains. The goal is to partner with mass-market auto companies to offer cars with the DeltaWing® architecture to a broad global audience and significantly expand the design’s efficiency and environmental benefits.
In addition to official Concours duties, Panoz will bring a special guest – the 2015 25th Anniversary Edition Panoz Esperante Spyder, a new 430-horsepower, 3,128-lb limited-edition two-seat sports car from Panoz LLC. This new Panoz Esperante sports car is the lightest and most desirable Esperante ever produced and only 25 examples will be made to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary. With a focus on one-to-one customer service including “your dream car” customization, no two Esperante Spyders will be alike. The Esperante Spyder and its more powerful cousin, the Esperante Spyder GT, are available for order. Prices are $179,120 and $204,750, respectively.
Overseeing key Concours d’Elegance events and activities
As Grand Marshal, Panoz will join in many important activities over the busy weekend. This includes the Road Rallye on Saturday Sept. 13 that starts at Rolling Hills Country Club and celebrates historic locations on the picturesque Palos Verdes Peninsula and ends at the Palos Verdes Golf Club where the evening’s Concours Kick Off Celebration will be held. On Sunday he will preside over the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance fulfilling many official duties including the presentation of the coveted Best of Show trophy.
“I’m very honored and humbled to have been named this year’s Grand Marshal,” Panoz said. “As a car lover and someone who’s witnessed a lot of history over the years, I’m really looking forward to this Concours and the many examples of spectacular automotive art and design.”
Panoz has a long and storied entrepreneurial history. He founded Panoz Motor Sports Group in 1997 and commissioned the Panoz Esperante GTR-1, the first successful front-engine prototype race car in more than 30 years. He also founded the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) endurance racing championship and the Petit Le Mans endurance sports car race, one of the largest car races on earth. Panoz also is a pioneer in racing technology, debuting the world’s first successful modern hybrid race car that won its class at the 1998 Petit Le Mans race. Panoz race cars have won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the four Indy 500 races. Panoz also founded Élan Technologies, engineering, design and manufacturing company servicing the automotive, motorsports, aviation, aerospace and defense industries.
This all occurred after his successful career in the pharmaceutical business. In 1961 he founded Milan Pharmaceuticals in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. with Army buddy and fellow West Virginal University alum Milan “Mike” Puskar. This evolved into Mylan, a company that now sells an estimated 1,300 products to more than 140 countries and territories worldwide. In the 1970s he created Élan Corp. in Ireland, which became a leader in drug delivery products and technology and was the first Irish company to be publicly listed on the U.S. stock exchange. Panoz has registered more than 300 pharmaceutical and other patents, including the transdermal patch, better known as the nicotine patch.