Panoz DeltaWing Racing ended the day early during the 19th Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta due to a timing chain breaking in the engine on Lap 169. Sean Rayhall, who was in the car at the time, had been enjoying a strong stint before he had to pit as had reportedly lost all power.
Katherine Legge started the race in eighth and despite power problems back at the pitstand and no telemetry initially, drove an impressive first couple of stints including getting the team’s fastest lap of the race with a 1:15.068 on Lap 58. Legge also expertly avoided the PC car that had spun on track in Turn 7 just over one-hour in.
During the first Full Course Yellow at the one-hour 20-minute marker, Legge handed the car over to Andy Meyrick in seventh position. Meyrick had a strong double-stint covering 71 laps with one pit for fuel and tires on the 100th lap.
On Lap 135 and just over three-hours in, Sean Rayhall took the wheel. Just before the second Full Course Yellow, Rayhall had the car up in sixth position and the DeltaWing was ‘feeling good’ according to feedback on the radio. At the four-hour mark Rayhall reported that he had lost all power and on skillfully guiding the DeltaWing back to the pit and the crew, it was realized that the timing chain had broken in the engine and the day had ended early.
The team will now return to the shop to begin preparation for the coupe’s final appearance at the 2017 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January.
“For sure it’s disappointing as this is not the way we wanted to end the season. The team definitely deserved a lot better as they put together a really good race car, not only for this event but the entire year. The drivers did a really good job in the race taking care of the car and making good decisions. We got a couple of breaks when the yellows fell our way and we maintained or position on the lead lap. Thanks to Don and everyone on the team I and wish we could have had a better result.”
“Bitterly disappointed for our last race of the season. We had a strong showing and everything was going to plan. I’m really proud of my team, they’ve all put in blood, sweat and tears and it wasn’t the way we wanted to end a difficult season.”
“It’s really unfortunate that we ended our year with an engine issue. Really proud of the team for the work they’ve put in and the pace and performance we’ve had. It’s been an honor to be part of the DeltaWing program and I want to thank Dr Panoz and the team for the opportunity and a great year.”
“Very disappointed because the strategy was working to our favor. The pit stops were good, the car’s performance was great and the team have done a brilliant job all season and deserved a better result.”