Ian James puts the #50 Panoz Avezzano on pole, before going on to secure a fifth win, sixth class win, this season in the final round of the GTS Championship also securing the Manufacturer’s Championship.
Sept. 2, 2018, Watkins Glen, NY. – Ian James secured his fourth and fifth pole of the 2018 season at Watkins Glen this weekend and followed through to secure his fifth win, sixth class win, in today’s Race 2 at Watkins Glen International. This comes after a second-place finish in yesterday’s Race 1. Calculating points, this also secures Panoz the Manufacturer’s Championship title, thanks to the number of wins.
In Race 1, James was overtaken by Jade Buford in the #55 Ford Mustang at the start and despite continuous chasing, couldn’t claim back the lead. In Race 2, James managed to keep the lead from the start and despite Buford being hot on his tails, managed to take the checkered flag at the top of the leaderboard.
Luck was not on Preston Calvert’s side in the #51 Panoz Avezzano yesterday morning during qualifying, with tire issues making the car almost impossible to steer. Without the kind of timed-lap that he’d hoped for and looked like he’d achieve in practice, Calvert started Race 1 at the back of the field although fought hard to end the race 15th, eighth in class. In today’s race, Calvert put on a strong performance, making quick and easy work of the traffic, and made the top-five in class. Unfortunately a spin on the penultimate lap whilst trying to avoid a competitor, cost him dearly and Calvert finished in 19th, 11th in class.
Further to this weekend, Team Panoz Racing is planning to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge’s Intercontinental GT Challenge, October, 26-28, 2018 at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca track in Monterey. This would be the first endurance test for the Panoz Avezzano GT, since the race car’s debut in 2017. Behind the wheel would be the team’s three regular drivers, Ian James, Preston Calvert and Mathew Keegan.
“What a way to finish off the year here at Watkins Glen. At the start, second and third places got side-by-side through the Esses which gave me a little bit of breathing space, and then I think I had a one-second gap which I was able to maintain until the pace car came out. It was amazingly close all the way, the top four cars were covered within a couple of tenths in speed. The team have done a brilliant job this year, five wins, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Dr. Preston Calvert*
“So I first want to congratulate Ian and the entire team for his victory today, following on from second yesterday, and his superb driving and leadership in our driver group all season. I had a difficult qualifying yesterday but was able to move up a bit in the starting grid for today. I got a fairly good start and moved gradually up to run fifth, and was challenging fourth before the end of the race. To avoid car-to-car contact at Turn 9 during an attempted pass, I lifted throttle and unfortunately spun. The intention is to race our final event of the year at Laguna Seca and I would very much look forward to that opportunity with my fellow drivers Ian James and Matt Keegan. We could be hopeful of a very good result there. Thanks again to the entire Panoz team for their incredible support all season.”
* 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.
“Very happy with our overall results. It’s hard to not be happy with a second yesterday, a win today and the Manufacturer’s Championship title. The drivers did a great job, the crew did a great job. It was a great team effort.”
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.