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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2002  

Audi R8  2001  -  2002  -  2003  -  2004  -  2005  -  2006

  ALMS Washington, D.C.  



WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2002) –
Former Formula One star Johnny Herbert set the fast time of the day Friday as American Le Mans Series teams began practice for Sunday’s inaugural Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C.

Driving the Champion Racing Audi R8 Prototype, Herbert turned a lap of 1:04.310 (92.981 mph) on the 1.661-mile temporary racing circuit located adjacent to RFK Stadium. Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute race will be the first racing event held in the U.S. capital city in more than 80 years.

“I think they’ve done a marvelous job with this circuit,” said Herbert. “It’s very smooth and wide, and there are many places for overtaking. I think the spectators will see an interesting race on Sunday.” Herbert will co-drive with another ex-Formula One pilot, Stefan Johansson of Sweden, in Sunday's race. Qualifying will be held on Saturday with the race to start at 12 noon on Sunday.

The factory Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro was second-fastest in Friday’s practice at 1:04.529, followed by the factory Audi R8 of Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen at 1:04.578. Close behind the Audis was the Panoz LMP-1 of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen at 1:04.831.

Friday's pair of one-hour practice sessions were held under oppressively hot, hazy and humid conditions which tested even the fittest drivers' stamina, but that didn't stop a surprisingly large number of Washington, D.C. spectators from coming out on a Friday to see the cars and racing action close-up. Several local and national television crews were on hand from the early morning hours on, interviewing drivers and giving their viewers a taste of the racing action the American Le Mans Series brings to town.

The seven turn temporary circuit was created from an abandoned parking lot outside Washington's RFK Stadium, and race organizers have set new standards in temporary circuit construction and appearance. Champion Racing owner Dave Maraj said, "I'm really impressed with the facilities that have been put in place here in Washington, D.C. The quality of the track and facilities are far beyond what we had hoped for, and we're confident the people in the D.C. area will want the ALMS to make Washington a regular stop on the series calendar."

Johnny Herbert ready to take the first laps by an ALMS car at Washington, D.C.
Herbert briefs Stefan Johansson on track conditions during the first practice session
Having turned over to Johansson, Johnny briefs an Audi Sport engineer on the R8's handling
Johnny Herbert sets the day's fastest time in afternoon practice
The Washington, D.C. circuit offers a surprising amount of room for a twisty temporary course
Stefan Johansson negotiates one of several hairpin turns on the D.C. track
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