Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud endured a day of heartbreak at Mosport after clever strategy by the de Ferran Motorsports squad took the #66 Acura within ten minutes of an outright victory and half a lap of a LMP2 win in the American Le Mans Series - only to lose out at the death.
Pagenaud started the race and handed over to de Ferran an hour into the event. With one hour and 25 minutes remaining, the safety car hit the track after an accident by the #30 P1 Lola, and during a lengthy caution period, de Ferran made two stops - the first for fuel and then a second stop to top up on fuel and fit new tyres for the run to the flag.
The race went green with 59 minutes remaining and the Acura ARX-01b took the overall lead with 39 minutes to go as more rivals began to pit for fuel. de Ferran held the outright lead until ten minutes to go when he dropped behind the LMP1 Audis but still enjoyed a handy advantage at the head of the P2 pack.
With de Ferran in fuel-saving mode in the run to the flag, the winning Audi crossed the start-finish line with one second to spare, forcing the race into one more lap than the de Ferran Motorsports crew had calculated for the two hour, 45 minute event. As a result, the Acura ran dry on the final lap of the event and handed victory to the Patron Highcroft crew, with the de Ferran team being left with seventh overall and fifth in class instead.
"The Audi crossed the line one second before the end of the race and we had to do one more than lap than we expected - the guys had calculated it perfectly but it wasn't to be,” de Ferran admitted afterwards. “It was a great race and the de Ferran Motorsports crew did a brilliant job, everything was judged perfectly right up until our final stop and just one single second cost us the race.
"That is the way it goes, we had a difficult time during practice and qualifying but the car in the race was fantastic. Our engineers and the Acura engineers must be congratulated on the improvements they made overnight.
"It was handling beautifully and even in fuel save mode, I was able to turn really strong lap times."