One of the more compelling things about a Panoz racecar is that a factory made them in fairly decent quantities — at least for a racecar. So, if you want a Panoz, you can find one, and you can still get parts for them. However, the one you see here is unique, as in the only one of its kind in the world that we know of.

Brian Goldburg and his brother Dan both settled on Panoz racecars after getting bit by the track and racing bug in the early 2000s. When street cars would no longer do, they both went in on a 1990 Porsche RS America clone, but neither driver liked the rear-engine driving dynamics. They both ended up buying used Panoz GTS cars — a brother rivalry fueling the desire for identical cars — ironically enough chassis Nos. 18 and 19. They also ended up buying the toterhome once used by the Panoz factory team.

Brian has had his Panoz ever since and drove it to a second place finish at the 2016 Eastern States Championships at Watkins Glen. That was a race Goldburg should have won, but a communication breakdown between crew and driver relegated Goldburg to second place. Dan has moved on to racing in IMSA, but not before nabbing a Spec E30 Championship in 2019 at Mid-Ohio and a Super Unlimited Championship at Daytona in 2021 in a Ligier prototype.

Originally fitted with a small-block Ford Windsor engine, Brian Goldburg’s Panoz is now powered by a Ford Ecoboost 3.5-liter V6 currently making 375 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Goldburg’s Panoz also is distinctive because he has been fastidiously removing weight from the car while simultaneously making it stiffer. What was a V8-powered Panoz that weighed 3,150 pounds with its driver is now a twin-turbo V6-powered car that weighs 2,650 pounds with the driver.

We will highlight the weight loss details in a bit, but let’s begin with Goldburg choosing the EcoBoost engine. When Goldburg saw what fellow NASA Northeast racer AJ Hartman achieved when he put a EcoBoost in an SN95 Mustang he campaigned in American Iron, it sort of opened his mind to other possibilities when choosing a new power plant for his Panoz.

“I feel like I hit a home run on making an unlimited type of choice where you could pick anything you want. Most would’ve put an LS in. I think the world would’ve gone LS because that’s a common motor, lots of support, blah, blah, blah. But I don’t like to be normal. That’s too boring,” Goldburg said. “I put this motor in in 2019 and I was on track in ‘21, I believe. So ‘21, ‘22, ‘23 seasons, this motor hasn’t spit, coughed, puked or leaked. My tuner, when I first sent him the log, he said, are you on track for this log? And I’m like, well, I’m not driving around getting groceries. And he was like, your motor is as happy as I could have asked for.”

Installing an EcoBoost V6 in the Panoz chassis built for a Ford V8 was less intense than you might expect. It also was a great deal less expensive than the $25,000 427-cubic-inch dry-sump motor he was using that always seemed to need fiddling. When he started looking for alternative power plants, Hartman’s Mustang and the EcoBoost powertrain got his attention. Not only was the EcoBoost capable of making the power Goldburg needed to be competitive in Super Touring 2, but it was also far less costly, more reliable, tunable and readily available from salvage yards nationwide if it chucked a rod.

“I was like, I’m going EcoBoost and I’m dropping all kinds of weight and I’m going to go that direction,” Goldburg said.

Under the hood, the biggest challenges were making custom engine mounts, but mounts for a Ford Coyote engine got him 90 percent of the way home. He also had to fabricate all the intercooler piping and find a way to get the steering linkage routed around the factory oil cooler on the oil filter. Much of the rest of the car, despite never having been built with the components Goldburg was using, was either put together with off-the-shelf parts or custom parts that were readily available.

For example, when he decided to take out the Tremec TKO and go with a sequential transmission from New Zealand manufacturer HGT, the shifter was still located in the right spot. The HGT box came highly recommended because it’s light and handles far more horsepower than he’s making. It’s so good, it’s becoming the gearbox of choice for the Australian V8 Supercar series.

By going with a sequential transmission with a hand shifter, Goldburg was able to eliminate the turbo lag that developed when he used the clutch to shift the previous Tremec transmission.

“It’s set up for paddle. That is a whole chunk of money, and more development. So, I figured I would take the first step,” Goldburg said. “I chose to take it to the next step and put a strain gauge on the shifter and buy a aftermarket gearbox control unit GCU from Xineering manufacturing, which was recommended by HGT.

“Xineering was very familiar with Ford, not so much the EcoBoosts, but it turns out the Coyote and the EcoBoost share most of the wiring,” he added. “So their harness plugs directly into the pedal with factory motorsports connections. It interrupts the spark signal with factory connections and it plugs into the HGT gearbox with factory connections. So they basically just shipped me a harness to plug into everything. I only had to cut one wire in the existing setup.”

For a bellhousing, Goldburg turned to Quick Time, which can custom-build a bellhousing to join nearly any engine to nearly any transmission. Turns out the HGT uses the same bolt pattern as a GM Muncie transmission, and the EcoBoost engine has a common Ford bolt pattern. For a clutch, he mailed QuarterMaster the automatic flex plate that came on the EcoBoost engine, and QuarterMaster removed the ring gear and used it to build a flywheel, clutch and pressure plate for him. Because the HGT is a shorter transmission, Goldburg opted for a new carbon-fiber driveshaft that saves weight, which was also was a major objective in this project.

Before any work on the car could begin, he built a perfectly flat steel I-beam jig on which to mount the chassis. That provided the platform to cut off some of the rear of the chassis damaged in an accident and replace it with straight metal. As noted earlier, Goldburg also added some structural steel to stiffen the chassis while also removing the floor and a great deal of sheet metal that the car was built with.

“I was like, OK, first step was grind every spot weld off and remove all of the sheet metal and replace that with aluminum. And once I got into it, they had double walls. They had welded a wall of steel, and then took a piece of aluminum and wrapped it with heat shielding and riveted that to the other side and then filled the void with fiberglass insulation,” he said.

“It was like car fiberglass, but there was a massive amount of that type of product in there and it ended up being well over a hundred pounds in addition to what I put in. So I replaced it all with .050” aluminum.”

Goldburg also was adding a Faircloth Composites carbon-fiber flat floor and rear diffuser for the car, so he removed the factory sheet metal on the bottom except for the footwell. Educated as a mechanical engineer, Goldburg knows “gram strategy” well and sought to find weight savings anywhere he could.

For example, he used a hole saw to lighten the fiberglass doors and used carbon fiber for a new trunk and hood also made at Faircloth Composites. Where sheet aluminum could be used in place of sheet steel, he did. When he found he could save 7 pounds of rotating mass with gun-drilled axles, he bought those. He used an aluminum housing for the Ford 9-inch rear axle and Gleason lightened gears inside the differential, which removed 6 pounds off the ring and pinion. He removed the factory dash and all the gauges and replaced it with a single digital display that operates on CAN-BUS. Goldburg even went to the extent of weighing fasteners and other hardware used throughout the car and made those lighter where possible.

His weight-saving efforts extended to all facets of car construction. The end result is a weight savings of 500 pounds. On a tube-frame purpose-built racecar, that’s an astonishing figure.

“It was amazing what you could find. The doors were 15 pounds extra heavy. You could see I cut all kinds of holes in them. They had made holes in them just to access the hardware and the rest of it just to look pretty,” Goldburg said. “And I’m like, well this is doing nothing but adding weight to the car and to make it look pretty. I don’t need pretty. I need light.”

Light or not, Goldburg’s Panoz GTS is still a thing of beauty.

Owner: Brian Goldburg
Year: 2000
Make: Panoz
Model: Esperante GTS chassis No. 18
Weight: 2,650  lbs. with driver
Engine/Horsepower: 2016 Ford F150 3.5L EcoBoost/375 whp, 430 wtq
Transmission: HGT 6-spd sequential
Suspension Front: Unequal length A-arm w/Penske two-way adjustable coilovers
Suspension Rear: Live axle located by trailing arms and Watts Link w/Penske two-way adjustable coilovers
Tires Front: Michelin Competition Slicks 30/65
Tires Rear: Michelin Competition Slicks 31/71
Brakes Front: Brembo four-piston F40 Calipers Hawk DTC 70 w/355mm rotors
Brakes Rear: Brembo four-piston Viper Comp Coupe Calipers Hawk DTC60 w/340mm rotors
Data system: RaceCapture Pro MK3, HP Tuners, Ford Motorsports ECU
Sponsors: Me, myself, & I (along with NASA Hawk brake pad program)

No financial contributions but great vendors: Anse Suspension, Faircloth Composites, Race Louvers, Coleman, Quartermaster, GeForce South, Panoz, HGT.

Images courtesy of Brian Goldburg, Brett Becker and Mike Woeller / WindShadow Studio


  1. Not only is Brian an ace fabricator and driver, he has been very helpful to me in improving my Panoz WC, despite having never met me anywhere but FB and on texts.

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