Panoz GT-RA

 

 

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 1998 spec.
  • 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.
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Panoz GT-RA Specs

  • Chassis: Steel tube frame construction
  • Body: Fiberglass and Thermal-formed Plastic
  • Engine: Ford 5-Liter HO; Electronic Fuel Injection; 250 Horsepower
  • 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 system;.Accommodates passenger
  • 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 webmaster.