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1998 North American GT Season

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1998 North American GT Season
Photo Credit: John Brooks.
Champion Constructor: None
Putative Constructor: Panoz Ford (US,0,2)
Champion Driver: Andy Wallace (GB,1,1), David Brabham (AU,1,0)
Putative Driver: Andy Wallace (GB)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model Esperante GTR-1, 5.98-liter, eight-cylinder vee, aluminum engine, OHV, fuel injection, six-speed sequential, ventilated carbon ceramic disc brakes, carbon fibre monocoque, double wishbone-pushrod independent suspension, power-assist steering, 605 horsepower (Reynard, Nigel Stroud).

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Don Panoz in 1998 purchases the PSCR assets from PST Holdings in September and announces his plans for the inaugural American Le Mans Series for 1999, a North American endurance series affiliated with the Automobile Club d'Ouest (ACO) of Le Mans and its regulations. Panoz Motorsports and the radical long snouted GTR-1 entry behind drivers Andy Wallace and David Brabham snare the respective PSCR GT constructors' and drivers' titles, Panoz for the second consecutive season. Wallace wins the putative honors by way of a single pole position in the season finale at Laguna Seca. Panoz with its GTR entry earns the inaugural USRRC GT putative constructors' title. Thierry Boutsen of Champion Racing collects the drivers crown by a narrow margin over Andy Wallace.

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

PSCR     
Panoz Ford114     Wallace A78
PTG BMW42     Brabham D (SC)77
Champion Porsche32     Bernard E43
Schumacher Porsche13     Boutsen32
Konrad Porsche9     Wollek32
AJR Porsche8     Pilgrim28
Freisinger Porsche8     
USRRC     
Panoz Ford52     Boutsen33
Champion Porsche33     Wallace A32
PTG BMW19     Wollek25
Rohr Porsche12     Bundy24
AJR Porsche10     Boesel16
Larbre Porsche8     Bernard E16

Noteworthy 1998 Races

1998 IMSA Sebring ClassicSebring, Florida1998 1998 IMSA Sebring ClassicBack again at Sebring for the Classic (three hours) in September, the overall race comes to a Panoz GTR-1 under David Brabham (AU) and Andy Wallace (GB) in heavy rains that covers 122.10 miles (average 40.58 mph), under ten seconds ahead of a WSC-classified Riley & Scott driven by James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger. After the skies open early in the contest, the Panoz GTR-1 beneath Brabham elects to stay on track as the other entries stop for service and wet rubber, then executes his own service and retains the lead just before race officials red flag the event for weather. Only sixteen minutes remain on the clock when officials finally allow the race to return to green, and Wallace, driving the final stint, deftly holds off the putatively swifter WSC prototypes for a rain-soaked yet satisfying upset victory. Photo Credit: