Panoz GT-RA History
- When Don Panoz bought Road Atlanta the racing school, they
were still using some very worn out Nissan 300ZX's. It was
decided that they should be replaced with Panoz bodied GT cars.
So, the Panoz Racing school contracted with a company in Florida
to help them design and build a batch of school cars - since the
Panoz Auto factory was already at capacity building AIV
Roadsters and working on the design for the Esperante. When the
company in Florida did not prove to be up to the challenge in
terms of quality and delivery time the project was finally
brought to Panoz Auto. The initial batch of cars was
delivered to Road Atlanta in the fall of 1998 and were called
GTRA's (Road Atlanta). All of the original parts numbers carried
the GTR8 prefix to tell us they were GTRA parts designed to the
- After building the first batch of school cars, Road Atlanta
came up with an idea for an all women racing series with Lynn
St. James at the helm. So, a second batch of cars was
built with the 4.6l 4 cam Cobra engines. These cars also
incorporated some safety updates to bring them up to the standards
required by (at the time) Professional Sports Car racing to run
as a support race in the ALMS series. The most important of
these was the switch from 1.75 OD x .090 wall ERW to 1.75 OD x
.090 DOM tubing on all the round tubes in the chassis. These
cars were designated GTWC's (women's cup) and were built over
the winter of 1998/1999. After being run as the Women's Global
GT series for 2 years it was opened up to men as well and
renamed the Panoz Pro series.
- The next evolution of this same basic chassis came in the
summer of 1999, when Panoz placed a 400hp Ford 351 crate motor in
the car. This is also where the plastic body panels were first
used. These cars initially were built to run as a spec series of
their own that would run within the SCCA GT1 class. They started
out on treaded street tires, but like everything else on this
"spec car" they evolved to slicks and finally even from 17" to
18" slicks. The cars were designated GTS cars for SCCA, and the
part numbers carry a GTSx prefix with the x being the year the
part was created. Most parts on these cars are GTS9 part
numbers. These cars have been built to order ever since the '99
and are still available from Panoz.
- Over the next couple of years 2 more batches of school cars
were built, one for Sebring and one for Texas Motor Speedway.
Due to availability issues with the old 5.0 mustang engine, most
of the Sebring cars had Australian Falcon 5.0's, and then the
Texas cars had 5.0's from Ford Explorers. The Australian engines
have the throttle body opening to the driver's side, while the
explorer engines have a rather tall plenum compared to all the
others. Incidentally, the Explorer motors have the "GT40P"
cylinder heads which is a cast iron head with a little better
flow than the old 5.0 engines had. These cars were pretty strong
on the chassis dyno.
- On July 1st 2007, Skip Barber bought the Panoz Racing School
which prompted the sale of the Panoz School and Pro Series cars.
Many racing enthusiasts have used this opportunity to pick up
some really great cars.
Panoz GT-RA Specs
- Chassis: Steel tube frame construction
- Body: Fiberglass and Thermal-formed Plastic
- Engine: Ford 5-Liter HO; Electronic Fuel Injection; 250
- Transmission: TTC "R" Tremec 5 Speed
- Steering: Ford Motorsport power rack & pinion
- Front Suspension: Double A-arm with H&R coil-over springs
with Koni shocks and sway bar
- Rear Suspension: Ford 9" axle with four links, Watts
linkage, and sway bar
- Brakes: Front and rear disc brakes with Brembo calipers and
PFC discs and pads
- Wheels: BBS 9"x17"
- Tires: Pirelli 275/40X17 P7000
- Fuel System: 25-gallon fuel cell
- Features: Pi electronic dashboard; Pi data acquisition
- Dimensions: Track - 65"; Width - 75"; Wheel Base - 107";
Length - 171"; Height - 52"; Weight - 2550 lbs
- Safety Features: Sparco belts, window net, composite racing
seats, full roll cage with door bars and fire system
The purpose of this web site is to serve as a resource for people
owning Panoz GT-RA race cars.
This information is largely
derived from word of mouth and is subject to errors. Please
feel free to forward any new or updated information to the