Kevin Magnussen believes he would have emerged victorious on his sportscar debut in the 24 Hours at Daytona but for a heartbreaking late puncture.
Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac team-mate Renger van der Zande had hunted down the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura of Felipe Albuquerque to within a second before a right-rear tyre blowout on the famous Daytona banking with just seven minutes remaining.
Former Haas F1 driver Magnussen, who impressed on his maiden sportscar outing which included an audacious overtake into the bus stop on Alexander Rossi, was all set to celebrate before the late disaster.
“Absolutely gutted,” conceded the Dane. “Looked like we had the race win right there.
"Renger had really good pace catching the #10 car. I think he would have had a really good chance to win the race."
Reflecting on the event overall, Magnussen added: "A really awesome experience for me. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.
"I learned a lot and I can’t wait for a great season with Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Magnussen joins van der Zande for the full IMSA season at the new Chip Ganassi entry, with the team's six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon serving as a temporary endurance driver.
Van der Zande, who had won the previous two instalments of the race with Wayne Taylor Racing, said his crew "didn't deserve" the heartbreak considering they had fought back as a team following an earlier puncture - also on the right rear - and a drive-through penalty.
“We gave it a great try as a first-time team together," he added. "We drove from seventh up to the leader and then the flat tyre. It didn’t work out. We will move onto the next one.”
Magnussen and van der Zande will next compete in the 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March.
If we hadn’t had a puncture with 5 laps to go, I think we would have had a really good chance of winning the race. Motorsport is tough sometimes. Thanks @CGRTeams for an awesome race car. Great job by my teammates @Rengervdz & @scottdixon9. 12h of Sebring next! pic.twitter.com/wHFDY2cOJG
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.