Green with envy: Georgia’s Panoz restores a one-of-a-kind street-legal Le Mans car

Georgia-based Panoz has just finished restoring the only remaining Esperante GTR-1 Homologation Special. Hailed as one of the most hardcore street-legal cars the small company has ever built, the 18-year-old coupe will be displayed at this year’s edition of the Dubai Motor Show.

As its name implies, the Esperante GTR-1 Homologation Special is essentially a street-legal version of the front-engined Esperante GTR-1 that unsuccessfully competed in the 1997 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It wears an eye-catching green paint job, rides on black center-locking wheels, and is markedly more muscular-looking than the Esperante on which it’s based thanks in part to an aerodynamic, model-specific body crafted entirely out of carbon fiber.

Inside, Panoz has attempted to make the race car’s track-focused, back-to-basics cabin more livable by adding niceties such as beige leather upholstery on the dashboard, the steering wheel, and the bucket seats, and carbon fiber trim around the instrument cluster. All told, the restoration process took over six months.

Power is provided by a Ford-derived, fuel-injected 6.0-liter V8 engine that generates over 600 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The eight-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transaxle built by ZF. Performance specifications haven’t been published, but the GTR-1 undoubtedly delivers neck-snapping acceleration because it tips the scale at less than 2,000 pounds.

Panoz is hanging on to the original GTR-1 in its private collection, but it’s open to the idea of using the original body and tub molds to build a replica for customers who are willing to part with nearly $900,000. Interested buyers can specify whether they want the coupe built with carbon fiber or with another material, and they can work directly with Panoz to design a unique car by choosing from a wide palette of paint colors and by customizing the cockpit.

Alternatively, Panoz is actively developing an evolution of the GTR-1 that promises to be more comfortable, more user-friendly, and just as fast as the original model. If approved for production, it will be more spacious than the GTR-1 that was built in 1997, and it will be fitted with both a rear window and a climate control system.


The 2019 Detroit Auto Show: Where new muscle cars, trucks, and EVs convene

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.

Nissan turns the electric Leaf into a hot hatch with supercar-like acceleration

The Nissan Leaf isn't what comes to mind when you think of a performance car. Nismo wants to change that. It used Leaf parts to create a track-only electric hot hatch called the Leaf Nismo RC that boasts AWD and twin electric motors.

The 8-seat, 3-row 2020 Telluride SUV is the biggest Kia ever

It's fitting that the 2020 Kia Telluride debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, as it was built specifically to meet U.S. buyers' insatiable demand for SUVs. Kia packed the eight-seat cabin with family-friendly tech as well.

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.