Sanctioning body founder/owner, manufacturer, track owner, visionary
Many refer to Dr. Panoz as “the man who saved sports car racing” as a series leader and transformed all racing as a manufacturer. When he created the American Le Mans Series in 1999, sports car racing was foundering here and abroad. The ALMS — and its partnership with Le Mans sanctioning body ACO —rescued both. Then, in 2012, Panoz merged his series with Jim France’s Grand-Am to form today’s vibrant IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Panoz also returned America to the forefront of racing innovation. In 1999 he introduced the first hybrid racecar. F1, World Endurance, NASCAR and IndyCar have all followed. He also trailblazed front-engine pushrod racecars and the radical DeltaWing. Proudly American, Panoz cars won at Le Mans, Sebring, the Nurburgring, Petit Le Mans and other premier events — Petit Le Mans yet another Panoz innovation. When Panoz purchased G-Force Technologies, he added Indy 500 victories and IRL championships to his resume. His ownership also revitalized Road Atlanta, Mosport and Sebring. Panoz received our Paul Russo Heritage Award in 2014.