Georgia-based boutique supercar/racecar manufacturer, Panoz Auto Development, has released this small preview image of its latest set of hot wheels: the 2011 Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans. Although full details -- as well as a full vehicle image -- will have to wait until next month when the car makes its official public debut at the famed 24-hour French endurance contest, Panoz has passed along a few interesting facts about this GT-in-waiting that will be just as home on a circuit as on the streets.

Don Panoz, who also is the driving force behind the Panoz Motor Sports Group, sees the new Abruzzi as a significant step beyond the firm's successful Esperante. "The styling is inspired from a classic era when racers would literally drive their own cars to Le Mans to compete and then drive back home. However, the technology of the Panoz Abruzzi 'Spirit of Le Mans' is absolutely leading-edge."

Putting New Ideas in the Fast Lane

The 2011 Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of LeMans will showcase at least two revolutionary design innovations. Its bodywork employs what Panoz is calling REAMS material technology. That acronym stands for Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System, and the packaging reportedly delivers unprecedented environmental, performance and structural advantages -- although exactly how and what they are remains to be seen. The Abruzzi also will see the first use of Panoz' new three-stage "Trifecta Cooling" technology, which reportedly improves the engine's performance and efficiency. It matches a high-capacity conventional radiator with separate stage-two and stage-three cooling systems that further reduce fluid temperature both upstream and downstream from the main unit.

Panoz also added that the Abruzzi will make extensive use of compact, lightweight LED lighting systems for both functional and stylistic purposes. "We are no strangers to pioneering new and unique concepts and materials in building great sports cars, and are well known for 20 years of manufacturing and selling exclusive, limited-volume, high-performance automobiles." The company's first effort, the Cobra-like Panoz AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) Roadster, set the stage for its current multi-faceted Esperante, a vehicle that claimed victory in the GT2 category at both the Sebring 12 Hours and the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2006. Now undergoing homologation and production testing, the Abruzzi will be unveiled and displayed in the "village" area of the historic Circuit de la Sarthe from June 7 to 13.

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