Despite only qualifying fourth for the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix at Houston, the Audi R8 of Dindo Capello and Alan McNish survived the bumpy and twisting Texan streets to win from the Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Oliver Beretta.
The Audi win, despite a strict weight penalty, gives the car its 62nd win from 78 races the switch back to conventional fuel after winning with the R10 diesel at Sebring doing nothing to upset the Audi flow.
"I was surprised how good the car really was in the race," said a delighted Capello after the race. "We could keep pace right behind the Porsche. We have no traction control and were very heavy out of the corners. Now we are in 2006 and this car should not have been as competitive as it was today."
Capello's team mate emerged equally delighted as the Audi team weathered the attrition where its closest rivals, the Penske Porsche's that looked so strong in qualifying and the Dyson Lola's fell by the wayside.
"That was Possibly one of the hardest races for the Audi R8 on a very demanding, bumpy and slippery circuit – not ideal for a car originally designed for Le Mans," said McNish. "Dindo was superb, the team very clever with its pit-stops in a very tough race. I'm proud to have achieved another win for the R8."
The Penske Porsche duo could not follow on from an excellent second and third in qualifying with the LMP2 machines suffering mechanical woes during the punishing race.
The Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard Porsche managed to lead 71 of the 143 laps and looked strong before a drivetrain problem sidelined the car. The sister Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr had a trying race suffering a puncture after contact with the winning Audi and were also hit with drivetrain problems before limping home third in class.
Behind the all conquering Audi was the Corvette Racing C6.R piloted by Gavin and Beretta, winning the GT1 class for the seventh time in a row and also claiming the highest finish for a GT1 car in ALMS history.
The sister Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell came home second, dealing well with the punishing circuit and followed Audi's lead by tasting success despite added ballast.