HYT announced its partnership with Panis-Barthaz Competition last year. This young racing team immediately caught the world’s attention thanks to its superstar French founders — ex-professional goalie Fabien Barthez, who led the French football team to its world championship title in 1998, and ex-Formula One driver Olivier Panis, who raced for 10 seasons and won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
Panis isn’t driving in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Barthez most certainly is, in his role as “Gentleman-Driver”. In the LM P2 (Le Mans Protoype 2) category, teams are comprised of two professional drivers and one amateur gentleman-driver.
There is nothing “amateur” about Barthez, however, as he takes his racing as seriously as he did his professional football career. “It is really tricky to drive these LM P2 cars, even for professional drivers,” explains Panis, “But Fabien has a lot of talent and we are really happy to have him on the team. He is disciplined, hard working and comes to training already warmed up. He is a true pro.”
Together with professional drivers, Nathanaël Berthon and Thimoté Buret, the trio will be racing in a car with a 4-liter V8 engine, delivering 600bhp.