Video: Thundering round Le Mans in an outrageous Panoz GTR-1

05th October 2023
Simon Ostler

The Panoz Esperante GTR-1 is among the most recognisable cars to ever race at Le Mans. There’s no mistaking that long bonnet and the talon-shaped bodywork, the cockpit positions over the top of the rear axle. It’s a true American muscle car disguised as an endurance racer.

Then there’s that engine. A savage 6.0-litre Ford V8 delivering somewhere in the region of 600PS (441kW) and 500Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. It sounds ungodly, and we can only imagine what a handful it is to restrain when that throttle pedal gets pushed all the way to the floor.

It’s simply one of the coolest racing cars we’ve ever seen, full stop. And here, we get to experience what it’s like to drive first-hand, as it absolutely storms around the Circuit de la Sarthe in what looks like utterly treacherous conditions – especially for the brutish Panoz.

One of the best moments of this video is when we, riding onboard with the GTR-1, fly along the Mulsanne straight side-by-side with a Maserati MC12. There are no words to describe the sound as our V8 creates a glorious harmony with the Maser’s 6.0-litre V12.

The weather looks appalling we get further in, with spray ahead making it very difficult to judge braking distances in a car that’s travelling at considerable speed. The skills of the driver here are worthy of steep praise.

We just can’t get enough of that engine though. It’s just an absolute monster. So loud, so fruity, just so addictive. We are so glad the Panoz exists, this video has convinced us that it’s just the greatest thing on four wheels.

Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: Screaming V12 Aston Martin sounds incredible round Spa

  • Elevenses

  • Video

  • Panoz

  • Esperante

  • GTR-1

  • Le Mans

  • Onboard

  • Race

  • Historic



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