Washington DC: Chris Gleason race notes

Gleason finishes seventh in GT Class in inaugural Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. Sunday. WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21 - Driving one of two BMWs against 11 higher-horsepower Porsches in the GT class, the team of Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and...

Gleason finishes seventh in GT Class in inaugural Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. Sunday.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21 - Driving one of two BMWs against 11 higher-horsepower Porsches in the GT class, the team of Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and Emil Assentato of Locust Valley, N.Y. finished seventh in class Sunday afternoon in the inaugural American Le Mans Series Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C.

The event, the first major auto race held within the city limits of the nation's capital in over 80 years, was broadcast live on NBC.

The race was held on a 1.661-mile, seven-turn temporary street racing course constructed in parking lots adjacent to RFK Stadium. A total of 33 cars competed in the two-hour, 45-minute event held under brutally hot and muggy conditions.

"I flat-spotted a tire and we had to make a green-flag pit stop and we lost a lap, but I feel pretty good about the weekend because we did fine, all things considered" Gleason said. "The Porsches just have more horsepower than we have. We could keep up with them in the turns, but on the straights they'd just power away from us.

"I drove a long time and the heat and humidity were just brutal," he continued. "But I train for this, so it's not like it was unexpected. The heat just makes everything harder for everybody."

Gleason said he enjoyed being an unofficial representative of BMW at this event.

"You wouldn't believe all the fans who came up to us and said how happy they were to see our BMW in the race," he related. "It was a great crowd and the race was a great success. The American Le Mans Series' strategy of taking the show to the people seems to be working. The mayor wanted to take the image of Washington and showcase it to the world, and I think that was accomplished."

On Saturday Gleason qualified his red and white BMW M3 #10 11th in the GT class and 30th overall. His fastest lap in qualifying was at an average speed of 78.369 mph. Sasche Maassen of Germany won the pole in the GT class in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS and he and his teammate, Lucas Luhr, won the class on Sunday with a 13-place finish overall to Gleason and Assentato's 20th.

"I qualified the car so I started the race," Gleason explained. "I ended up driving most of it too, and overall it was a great experience. It was a historic race and I'm glad I was part of it."

Gleason and Assentato's next race is the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on Aug. 3 in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.

"Emil and I have a car that prefers the tight street circuits to the high-speed road courses like Watkins Glen, so we have high hopes for Trois-Rivieres too," Gleason concluded.

-lm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Emil Assentato , Lucas Luhr , Chris Gleason