until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Olivier Panis Joins The Race Legends Trophy grid

by Sam Smith
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Olivier Panis will race in The Race Legends Trophy for the first time this weekend after confirming a slot on the grid.

The former Ligier, Prost, BAR and Toyota driver joins his former teammate Jenson Button in racing at Circuit Zandvoort alongside other motorsport legends including Emerson Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Petter Solberg and Helio Castroneves.

Panis becomes the latest edition to the stellar grid which also features F1 contemporaries such as Mika Salo and Jan Magnussen in action.

“I am looking forward to being involved in the Legends Trophy with some of my former colleagues and rivals from my racing career,” Panis told The Race.

“It will be a big challenge to come in but it looks like great fun and something that you can really concentrate on and have some nice racing with great cars and top tracks.

“Simracing is something I am very interested in since we have created on our own Triple A esports team with my fellow manager Didier Coton.

“I didn’t really expect to race myself as my Triple A, Panis Racing and Lexus Tech1 agendas are quite tied, but the current situation allows me to have a go, thanks to Simetik, our partner and the guys inside Triple A esports, Stéphane Koch and Thibault Larue.

“I’m looking forward to fighting on track against my old mates Jenson Button, Mika Salo, Montoya and so on… I am quite new and I know it will be difficult to be in the rhythm straight away but will do my best from now.”

Olivier Panis Jenson Button 2004

Panis had a long successful racing career which spanned over 20 years in professional racing.

After taking titles in Formula Renault and Formula 3000 Panis made his F1 debut for Ligier in 1994 and took a remarkable second place at that years German Grand Prix despite being in a mostly uncompetitive car.

He stayed at Ligier, which morphed into Prost in 1997, for six seasons and famously won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix in the Frank Dernie and Loic Bigois designed JS43.

The following year he was occasionally a frontrunner, finishing second at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, a leg-breaking accident in Montreal truncated his season and he was replaced by Jarno Trulli for eight races.

A move to BAR for the 2001 and 2002 seasons resulted in only sporadic points scoring before two more difficult seasons at Toyota where he partnered Ralf Schumacher.

After his F1 career petered out Panis raced at Le Mans four times between 2008 and 2011 scoring a fifth place finish at his final attempt in an ORECA entered Peugeot 908HDi FAP with teammates Loic Duval and Nicolas Lapierre.

Panis also managed drivers including Charles Pic who went on to drive for the Caterham and Marussia backmarker teams in 2012 and 2013.

He co-founded the Panis-Barthez endurance racing team along with 1998 FIFA World Cup winner Fabien Barthez entering LMP2 and LMP3 cars in the European Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Legends Trophy is part of The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones and will perform in a spectacular showcase at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday May 23.

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