America's capital city played host to its first international sports car race Sunday, the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C.
Fans of Washington's first major auto race of the modern era got their money's worth Sunday. The American Panoz team pulled an upset, beating the German Audi team after a race-long battle.
The Panoz, co-driven by Denmark's Jan Magnussen and Australia's David Brabham, finished .7 second ahead of the Audi, co-driven by another Dane, Tom Kristensen, and Italian Rinaldo Capello.
The two factory-backed Audis and the Panoz traded the lead several times during the course of the two hour, 45-minute event.
With four classes competing in the same race, heavy traffic was a factor all day. At no time could the race leaders relax as they threaded their way through slower cars.
Class winners included the lighter, smaller prototypes headed by the father-son driving team of Jon and Clint Field in a Lola. Chevrolet Corvette won the GTS class, co-driven by Canadian Ron Fellows and American Johnny O'Connell. And the GT class went to a Porsche co-driven by Germans Sascha Maasen and Lucas Luhr.
The factory Audi team has been the dominant force in the American Le Mans Series, taking all but one of the races this year before the Washington contest. Panoz has now posted two wins in 2002.
An unofficial estimate of the weekend's attendance figures was 70,000 spectators baked in Washington's summer sun.