The DeltaWing Racing Cars team looks forward to a little “home field” advantage this week, as they prepare for Petit Le Mans at the famed Road Atlanta circuit just a short drive from the team’s Braselton headquarters.
However, this week is about more than just hometown bragging rights. DeltaWing Managing Partner Dr. Don Panoz created Petit Le Mans and this 16th edition of the American endurance classic will be the final race for the series he built into a premier sports car championship, the American Le Mans Series. Added to the emotional mix is the fact that this will be the local debut of the revolutionary DeltaWing coupe, built to 2014 prototype specs. While acknowledging the added pressure, DeltaWing drivers Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick relish the chance to put the coupe into the spotlight, looking forward to hometown support from the team's family, friends and fans.
“The team has been focused on Petit Le Mans for some time,” said Legge. “This is the race we’ve worked toward all season long. It’s our home race, so there will be a lot of people cheering us on and we really appreciate that. It’s the first chance the fans will have to see the new DeltaWing coupe and that will be an attention grabber.
“It’s important to all of us that we do well, especially since this is the last ALMS Petit Le Mans. This race was the vision of Don Panoz, as was this amazing race car, and he did the same for the American Le Mans Series. It will be an emotional ending but I’m excited to see how it transitions into the new series.”
“We’re very excited to bring the DeltaWing coupe to our home race,” agreed Meyrick. “It’s one of the biggest events on the schedule and the final race of the season, so we’ve really been looking forward to it. This will be the first time the coupe has run at night so that will be a new challenge for us as well. Road Atlanta should be a track the car excels at – and it’s an added bonus that this is our home racetrack, a track we know so well. We’ll have a lot of people here to cheer us on.
“It’s sad in some ways that this is the last ALMS race, but it’s exciting as well, starting a new chapter for sports car racing in America. Don Panoz had a vision of creating a very competitive sports car racing series and bringing it to the fans and he accomplished that. There have been so many memories along the way – my favorite racing memories are all from the ALMS.”
Panoz remembers the origins of the idea to have his own “mini” Le Mans event, which has become one of the premier road races in the world.
“The Petit Le Mans was one of those epiphanies that came to me in the middle of the night,” remembers Panoz. “I was talking with the ACO (the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizing body for the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and came up with the idea of creating a mini, or Petit, Le Mans. It has grown to become the third largest sports car race in the world. It’s very fitting that the DeltaWing coupe will be racing in the Petit Le Mans this year.”
Legge and Meyrick will share driving duties in the DeltaWing coupe for the 1,000-mile/10 hour event. Petit Le Mans, final race of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, begins at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, October 19. The race will be broadcast in live segments on Fox Sports 1 and 2 (see below).
Petit Le Mans fast facts
Road Atlanta: 2.54 mile, 12-turn Road Course
Race duration: 1,000 miles or 10 hours maximum
Qualifying: ALMS.com - Friday, October 18th 1:50 pm - 3:20 pm EST
Internet: ALMS.com - Saturday, October 19th 11:00 am - 9:30 pm EST
Television: FOX Sports 1 / FOX Sports 2 LIVE coverage on Saturday, October 19th:
11:00 am - 12:00 pm (FS2)
2:30 pm - 6:30 pm (FS2)
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm (FS1)
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm (FS2)
FOX Sports 1: Recap show on Sunday, October 20th from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST