August 1, 2001

Panoz Motorsports Group Enters Multi-Level Partnership With Audi of America, Inc.

BRASELTON, Ga., The popular Audi Driving Experience -- including an advanced handling course and a teen safety program -- comes to North America for the first time via the Panoz Racing School.

The Audi Driving Experience is just one aspect of an exclusive, multi-level agreement between the Panoz Motorsports Group and Audi of America.

According to Scott Atherton, President of the Panoz Motorsports Group, "The agreement includes three other key areas in which Audi and Panoz are partnering."

The agreement also calls for Audi to become:

  • Title sponsor of the crown jewel of the American Le Mans Series, the Audi Petit Le Mans (October 3-6, 2001, at Road Atlanta)

  • Official performance vehicle for Road Atlanta and Mosport International Raceway

  • Official car of the Panoz Advanced Handling Programs.

    "Based on Europe's highly successful Audi Driving Experience model, Panoz Racing School will begin the American program this summer at Road Atlanta, Sebring International Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Mosport International Raceway," Atherton explained.

    The Audi Driving Experience includes:

  • a hands-on driving program where participants learn advanced handling by actually driving performance Audi street vehicles

  • a teen handling and safety curriculum

  • the Audi Academy which trains and familiarizes Audi brand specialists and company personnel

  • a special driving experience, custom-packaged for Audi owners (and available to non-owners.) This select program includes not only the advanced Audi Driving Experience but also related lifestyle activities such as golf, destination hotels and entertainment.

    Says Don Panoz, Chairman of The Panoz Motorsports Group, "This is an opportunity to advance an already great Audi-Panoz relationship.

    "On one hand, Audi continues to build on its brand which has been enhanced by Audi's growing racing and performance reputation and its dominance of major international circuits such as Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series. On the other, Panoz Motorsports continues to grow its own brand which is built on a foundation of world-class facilities, major international racing events like the American Le Mans Series and Panoz GT and Pro GT Series and, of course, our unparalleled driver and racer training."

    The agreement calls for Audi (featuring the Audi A4, 4-door, 1.8-liter turbo sedan) to become the official car of the advanced handling and performance programs of the Panoz Racing School.

    "This is an excellent opportunity for a truly unique relationship," says Panoz Motorsports Group President Atherton. The Audi branding experience has become vertically integrated, from the winner's circle of the world's great racing tracks to training for the highways of America. Similarly, the Panoz Racing School is part of the Panoz vertically integrated motorsports enterprise."

    Atherton cited the Panoz involvement in every facet of the motorsports industry, performance auto development and the school's high level of instruction which creates a unique and authentic experience for all motorsports enthusiasts.

    Atherton stressed that the advanced handling curriculum does not train race drivers, as the school does in its racing curriculum. Rather, he said, "The program's charter is to develop responsible street drivers capable of handling any and all extremes they may encounter on the roadway."

    Atherton concluded, "The teen driving program is expected to develop a large following at our school locations in light of the current emphasis on teen driver safety. The strength of the joint Panoz-Audi program is its ability to capture the attention and to train young drivers for a lifetime of rewarding, safe driving experiences. Consider the powerful effect of real-life handling experiences which we can maximize via actual, hands-on, behind the wheel situations in a controlled environment in the Audi A4 versus making the attempt with lectures and simulators."