Washington DC: Panoz Motor Sport preview

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA SET TO DO BATTLE IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL For American drivers Bryan Herta and Bill Auberlen, racing the stars and stripes "Spirit of America" Panoz in the American Le Mans Series takes on greater significance next week in...

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA SET TO DO BATTLE IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL

For American drivers Bryan Herta and Bill Auberlen, racing the stars and stripes "Spirit of America" Panoz in the American Le Mans Series takes on greater significance next week in the nation's capital.

Panoz is set to wave the flag at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington D.C. at RFK Stadium - the inaugural visit of the world's fastest sportscars to the nation's capital.

With years of experience on street circuits in CART, Herta is eagerly awaiting the chance to drive the Panoz LMP-01 Evo in Washington.

"This is one race I have been really looking forward to for some time," Herta said. "I really like street courses because you can be really aggressive with the car and I think this track will really suit our engine package. The torque of the Elan V8 should prove to be a real asset out of the slow corners."

With previous street circuit experience in Vancouver; Toronto; Miami; Long Beach; Detriot; Houston; Monterey, Mexico and the Gold Coast in Australia, Herta believes traffic could play a role in the outcome of the inaugural Washington D.C. event.

"Traffic is always a factor in ALMS events, but at a track like this it will be even more important to find a clean way through," Herta said. "All classes in the series are doing battle for their own championship so you have to be careful. I just hope everybody will be on their best behavior."

"I think this race will be a real hit with the fans and it is great to part of this first race in D.C.. To race the Spirit of America car in the nation's capital - especially after everything our country has gone through in the past 12 months - will be really special. I can't think of a better place to try to pick up my first ALMS win."

Herta will be partnered by fellow American and regular partner Bill Auberlen aboard the #51 car while international stars David Brabham and Jan Magnussen will drive the #50 Panoz machine.

"I am really excited to be in the Panoz for D.C.," Auberlen said. "An all-American combination, the stars and stripes and racing in the nation's capital will really give us something to be proud of. I am confident the whole team can really give Audi a run for their money."

The Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington D.C. will be a major highlight of the American Le Mans Series calendar. The weekend will include a celebrity race featuring stars aboard Panoz GTR-1 school cars and a record jump by motorcycle ace Robbie Knievel.

Sunday's ALMS event will be broadcast from 1pm to 3pm (eastern) on NBC.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Bryan Herta , Bill Auberlen , Robbie Knievel