Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud endured that de Ferran Motorsports finished its first season of competition on the podium by taking second in LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series season finale at Laguna Seca.
de Ferran was on driving duties at the start in the Panasonic-backed Acura and quickly made up places as he jumped from fourth in the grid to second at the first corner.
The Brazilian moved into the lead following the first of twelve caution periods and, despite losing the lead briefly, was back out front by the time he pitted on lap 52.
Pagenaud then took over at the wheel of the car and left the pits in eighth overall but moved forward to run as high as second before making the team's second stop. Resuming in fifth overall, he made up one place to take the flag in fourth overall and second in LMP2.
“I think we had the quickest car on the racetrack,” Pagenaud said. “The guys did a great job. I had lots of fun. For me it's an unbelievable feeling, I was fighting against Tony Kanaan. I used to watch him race with Gil. It's amazing. We passed each other a couple of times and banged wheels, but it was always really clean. I never had so much fun in a race.
"The Acuras were very strong. The traffic played against us a bit but overall when you look at it, it was a fantastic race. I don't think I took a breath for three hours. It was flat out all the time just like a Formula 3 race. The car behaved really well the whole race. It was just one of those races, where everything was perfect.
“It's really good for the guys to end the season like this. They've been doing an awesome job all season. I also want to dedicate this race to Keith Jones. He has been through a lot this year and he very much deserves that we dedicate this podium to him.”
Team boss de Ferran admitted it had been a good way to end the season, with his squad having done everything it could to secure victory.
“Although we didn't win this one, we came as close as one could to winning,” he said. “I have to say that I consider this a great result and a great way for us to finish our first season in racing. We had the best car out there.
“There were many close calls right at the end with some exciting racing. I had a good time in my stint and I think Simon did a fantastic job in the last two stints of the race and so did the team.”