American Le Mans Series veteran Butch Leitzinger said he was relieved that Dyson Racing had finally scored a class victory in the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta, after winning the LMP2 category in the rain-shortened race on Saturday.
The American, who has competed in every Petit Le Mans since the race's inception in 1998, shared the Lola-Mazda's second victory of the year with co-drivers Marino Franchitti and Ben Devlin after the Scot had taken pole on Friday.
"This is a race we have chased for a long time," said Leitzinger. "We have had some really horrible disappointments here over the years, so from Dyson Racing's perspective it is really great to get this win on the CV for the team."
Leitzinger added that he considered that winning Petit was now an accolade that compared with other major sports car events such as the Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans.
"This event is truly amazing, the way that year-on-year it has increased in significance and attendance," he said. "I was here for the first one in 1998. But every year that you come here the buzz just gets bigger and bigger.
"There are certain races that you go to, Sebring's one and the Indy 500 is another, Le Mans, where just walking in the gates you can really feel a buzz around the paddock and the infield. This really has attained that in a really short time. It's amazing how everyone has got behind this race and really embraced it."
Franchitti started the race, but had early problems with the actuator on his gearshift, which cost him three laps to the Fernandez Acura, but once it was changed he quickly managed to make up ground.
When the Fernandez car ran in to steering problems, the Dyson Lola cruised to its second victory of the season.
"I started the race and I experienced every condition that Road Atlanta has to throw at you," said Franchitti. "Those first two hours, I got stuck in sixth gear, luckily at the chicane. The guys got that fixed quickly, but the pace of the car was such today, that I think we gained three laps back in about an hour. Two of them on pure pace and one on strategy, which was just fantastic.
"The car was very strong all weekend as you saw from pole yesterday. Okay the race didn't end the way we wanted it to but the car was faultless and I'm very happy.
"For Dyson Racing it was important to get this victory. We were close at Sebring last year. I have finished second here myself so it is sweet to take the win."