Both Team Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4s were able to taste victory by the end of the weekend in St. Petersburg. A last lap pass in Race 2 earned Preston Calvert the AM division victory while Ian James fought hard to overcome adversity and brought the No. 50 to a fifth-place finish.
After a hectic start to Race 2, Calvert dropped back to fourth from his third place starting position. The Team Panoz Racing driver, however, wasn’t prepared to let his competitors off too easily, as he entered a pressure-filled battle with Marco Rasidic.
By the final ten minutes, that battle had turned into a three-way duel for top honors, before Calvert made a deciding move on Andretti heading into Turn 1, earning the AM class victory. This marked Calvert’s second Pirelli GT4 America victory of the season and first in the Sprint division.
After a swift start for the No. 50, James found himself in a tight battle, defending his second place starting slot from a pair of Robinson Racing Cameros and the Porsche of Pumpelly. About 20 minutes in, he was able to settle into the position, just as an unidentified issue struck, causing the No. 50 to lack power. Despite the circumstances, James put his head down a maintained the fifth position, earning valuable championship points for Team Panoz Racing.
Next up for Pirelli GT4 America Sprint will be the Streets of Long Beach on April 12-14. For this round Ian James will return to the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4 and Matt Keegan will take over the controls of the No. 51 Panoz Avezzano GT4.
Ian James | Driver, No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4 – “We had a great result today for Team Panoz Racing with Preston winning in the AM division. The No. 50 car started towards the front, we were running second. Then we lost the edge on the engine for the rest of the race. We don’t quite know what it was, but it’s so competitive in this series that unless you’re running at 100%, you’re not going to run at the front. We salvaged some points and this week's results make us look forward to the next round in Long Beach.”
Preston Calvert | Driver, No. 51 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4 – “What an incredible experience and great race with Jarrett Andretti, Marco Radisic and Tony Gaples, who made it really hard from behind. Unlike yesterday, I just tried to keep my head down and drive forward. I managed to get around both of them. I really can’t thank Panoz Racing enough for their effort, Ian James and our engineer Stefan Pfeiffer for teaching me so much and of course my wife Meg for letting me do this. I’ll be rooting for Matt Keegan has he takes on Long Beach and look forward to being back with him at VIR.”
Panoz designs and manufactures exclusive, American-made luxury sports cars. It is the first U.S. auto manufacturer to use super formed aluminum panels for its bodies and created America’s first Aluminum Intensive Vehicle (AIV), the Panoz AIV Roadster. The Panoz headquarters also features the Panoz Museum showcasing Panoz sports car and racing history and accomplishments such as the 1997 Panoz Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special, the 1998 GTR-1 Q9 Hybrid Le Mans prototype – the first modern hybrid race car, and the 2000 Panoz LMP1 Roadster S that won the 1000km of Nürburgring. Please visit Panoz.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.
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.