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Panoz Explains Daytona Gearbox Failure

DeltaWing, EMCO Gears re-examine relationship…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

DeltaWing Racing Cars and EMCO Gears are attempting to work through a gearbox solution following the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, as DeltaWing managing partner Don Panoz outlined Wednesday.

Panoz and EMCO have had a long-term relationship with various Panoz racing cars, but are seeking a solution after the gearbox failure took the team out of the race.

The team had a new gearbox installed for the race itself after running an older version at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test.

While the car’s straight-line speed was impressive throughout the month of January and Andy Meyrick set the fastest race lap at one point during his opening stint after qualifying fifth overall, the gearbox proved the car’s undoing in forcing its retirement in the second hour.

Panoz said the team had reached out to EMCO in June 2014 to order a new gearbox to improve reliability, but repeated delays and personnel changes within the company affected the timeline.

“The new gearbox was scheduled to be delivered to the team on November 15, 2014, which would give us ample time to test the new component,” Panoz wrote in a letter addressed to fans on the team website.

“We were disappointed when the due date came and passed and even more alarmed to learn our key EMCO Gears contact retired and the engineer assigned to this project left the company. EMCO Gears repeatedly adjusted the delivery date.

“Finally, the new gearbox was promised for delivery in time for The Roar Before the Rolex 24. In the end, it didn’t arrive until after The Roar, forcing the team to use the old EMCO gearbox at The Roar and to go into the race with an untested new component.

“Unfortunately, there were still more issues with the gearbox during the practice sessions before the race. Through the resourcefulness and engineering talents of the team however, we managed a great qualifying performance, starting fifth from the inside third row.

“As everyone could see during the first hour of the race, DeltaWing was highly competitive, running as high as fourth. Ultimately, a final gearbox failure ended our Rolex 24 at Daytona efforts.”

Panoz promised the team will make the necessary improvements, and is working with EMCO and also open to the potential of exploring options for a possible replacement.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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