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.