Ian James and Mathew Keegan put the #50 Panoz Avezzano back on the top of the podium at Portland International Raceway with a late-pass on the penultimate lap in Race 1, securing their fourth straight win.
Preston Calvert takes home his first win in the #51 Panoz Avezzano following an impressive final-straight pass in Race 2.
July 15, 2018, Portland, Or. – Team Panoz Racing enjoyed a very successful race weekend at Portland International Raceway. Ian James was joined by Mathew Keegan in the #50 Panoz Avezzano with Preston Calvert in the #51, both competing in rounds seven and eight of the GTS Sprint-X Championship and both cars achieving wins.
Qualifying Saturday morning, Keegan put the #50 in fourth on the grid, just a tenth off being on the front row. Starting the first race, Keegan progressed to third before handing the car to James with a little under 30-minutes remaining. During his stint, James secured a front row starting position with a lap time of 1:17.803 for Race 2, and had the car in second until the penultimate lap, where a late pass past Harry Gottsacker in the #69 brought home a fourth-straight victory for the #50 Panoz Avezzano and Team Panoz Racing.
After showing serious promise in Friday’s practice sessions, luck was not on Calvert’s side in qualifying and a differential issue meant the #51 started Race 1 in 19th. During the first lap, Calvert was up eight positions to 11th before a spin on the second lap dropped him back to 31st. Calvert expertly navigated traffic and ended the race fourth in class, 14th overall whilst securing a starting position of third in class, 14th overall on the grid, for Race 2.
Calvert stole the show in Race 2. Hustling through the traffic he made his way up to eighth overall but on the last lap put in a class-winning pass to secure his first podium and first win in the #51 Panoz Avezzano.
James started Race 2 in the #50 second on the grid. With the start not going to plan and being pushed out on the first corner and dropping back to fourth, James fought back and handed the car to Keegan at the half way point in third. Keegan put on a strong performance on the tails of the leaders and moved the #50 up the leaderboard, taking the chequered flag in second.
A fantastic result for the Team Panoz Racing crew with both cars on the podium and proving the ability of the Avezzano to be a fast, strong-performer amongst the GT4-spec race cars.
Next up for Team Panoz Racing is the final round of the PWC GTS Sprint-X Championship, rounds nine and ten at the GP of Utah, August 10-12, 2018, Utah Motorsports Campus, Tooele, Utah.
“A great weekend here in Portland. Yesterday’s win, backed up by a second today and an amazing am-class win for Preston in the sister car, is a fantastic result for all the hard work the Panoz organization puts into this program. Looking forward to Utah.”
“It was a great weekend for the team. The nice thing about our team is the cohesion. It’s never one person, it’s the team and everyone hustles. The crew gave us a great car, I had the easy part and only had to drive it. Looking forward to Utah and seeing what we can manage there.”
Dr. Preston Calvert*
“It’s been a great weekend for me personally as well as the Panoz team. I feel gratified to finally be able to breakthrough on to the podium, and to have that happen on the top step is incredible. The car was very well prepared, with a perfect set-up, and I want to thank my Lead Mechanic Richard. The race developed very smoothly on Sunday and I had the opportunity to make a pass on the last lap that had been set up earlier in the race and am very happy I was able to bring home a victory. I want to thank Team Panoz Racing and my wife Meg for supporting me and I look forward to the next race.”
* Dr. Calvert, a nationally-recognized neurologist and neuro-ophthalmologist for more than over 30 years, serves as a media advisor to the Pirelli World Challenge Safety Team and also is director of the series’ new mTBI (minimal Traumatic Brain Injury) Screening Program for driver safety as part of the protocol for possible concussion testing among PWC drivers.
“This weekend we achieved what we always wanted to achieve, and it is a proud moment when you can get both of your cars on the podium during a single race weekend. Great team work by all makes that happen.”
Honoring Those Who Serve
Team Panoz Racing in a partnership with Hometown Heroes Racing proudly displays the badges of the U.S. Fire, Police and EMS services on the Nos. 50 and 51 Avezzano GT race cars to honor those who dedicate their lives to serve our nation and protect, defend and save the lives of complete strangers every day. Michael E. Murphy, RN, EMT-P, founded Hometown Heroes Racing in 2014 with the sole focus of building honor and camaraderie amongst first responders and the military.