Auberlen & Liddell Drive Panoz Esperante
AUBERLEN & LIDDELL DRIVE PANOZ ESPERANTE TO PODIUM IN ALMS SEASON FINALE AT LAGUNA SECA Two Gallons of Fuel Separate Pair from Second Victory of the Season LAGUNA SECA, Calif., October 15, 2005 - The Pirelli- shod Maserati and Panoz teams came to the Monterey Sports CarChampionships at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway today just to earn a positive result in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season finale and justify the promise they showed early in the season. At Road Atlanta, in only the second race of the season, Maserati scored its first North American podium in nearly 50 years and the Panoz Esperante upset the Porsches for its first GT2 victory ever. But both teams struggled more often than not, only occasionally competitive with the Maserati setting fastest lap at Mosport and the Panozes challenging for podiums until late in many races. That was until today. In what several scribes called quite possibly the best race of the season, the #50 Panoz Esperante GTLM of Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Robin Liddell of Scotland took the lead at the half way point of the 4-hour sprint race into the night and basically held it until with six minutes to go Liddell had to stop for a two-gallon splash of fuel. "We really wanted this second victory for Don Panoz," commented Liddell. "But we're really proud of the crew's efforts this weekend and we'll gladly celebrate this second-place podium." The #35 Maserati MC12 of Italians Andrea Bertolini and Fabrizio De Simone also had an impressive race, at least until the two and half-hour point. At the two-hour mark, five GT1 competitors, including two Corvette C6Rs, an Aston Martin DB9R and a Saleen S7, ran nose-totail for virtually a half an hour on television. And guess who led them? For 19 minutes, the Maserati showed its potential by leading this GT1 freight train around this undulating circuit on the Monterey coast. Unfortunately, a holed radiator minutes later ended the day and the season for the Trident team; but it was great while it lasted. The four-hour Monterey Sports Car Championships will be aired in its entirety by SPEED Channel from 1 to 5 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, Oct. 16.