Leading British GT outfit Team LNT is to bring the American Le Mans Series race winning Panoz Esperante GTLM to Europe for the 2006 season.

Lawrence Tomlinson's team, which has competed in the British and FIA GT Championships and also in the LMES with the TVR T400R this season, has endured a mixed season of competition in 2005, with the undoubted highlight of a one-two finish in the LMES race at Spa mixed in with a number of engine problems which have so far blighted the teams year.

The agreement with Elan Motorsport Technologies - part of the Panoz Motor Sports Group of companies - will see LNT run two Esperante GTLM cars in Europe in 2006 with the aim being to compete in the LMES, the FIA GT Championship and hopefully in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Alongside its European commitments, LNT also hopes to compete in the famed 12 Hours of Sebring.

LNT will also become the European agents for the GTLM race car and will participate in the sale of race cars, spare parts, service and trackside support.

"Having proved our development skills and race-winning ability as a team, we are thrilled to be able to mount a serious challenge in 2006 with our hugely respected partner, Panoz," Tomlinson said. "This is a long-term deal, and we aim to provide our European customers with the back up and service to enable them to compete at the highest level."

Panoz Motor Sports Group President Scott Atherton was also delighted with the announcement.

"This partnership with LNT supports our strategy to expand in Europe," he said. "LNT fits all the criteria as a team and is a top-flight, professional organisation that can assist us in fulfilling our European growth plans."

David Bowes, the CEO of Elan Motorsport Technologies said he was confident that LNT are the right team to work with in bringing the Esperante to Europe - adding that all other teams who elect to run the GTLM will receive equal support from the American manufacturer.

"We have undertaken a considerable search to find the right partner who can work with us on the race track and also on the commercial side of our business," he said. "Lawrence Tomlinson and his team of highly qualified people are the ideal choice for us to work with. All future Panoz Esperante race teams will receive equal support and access to the same factory development programs and parts.

"Don Panoz has mandated that all teams racing Panoz Esperantes will be treated equally with everyone receiving the same developmental parts and assistance, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Team LNT will be provider of these services to all European Panoz teams."

 

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