Pole-sitter Ben Keating ignited the team’s drama after spinning the #52 ORECA LMP2 07 late in the opening hour of the 10-hour race.
Despite recovering to run among the frontrunners, with roughly two hours remaining Keating and co-driver Paul-Loup Chatin were left watching with agony after endurance team-mate Alex Quinn appeared stranded in the gravel at Turn 10.
Quinn desperately pounded the gas in an attempt to spin the tires to grab enough traction to propel him out of the endless sea of rocks, which managed to work, albeit slowly.
Quinn handed off to Chatin, who was able to secure the third and final spot on the podium, which bested race winners CrowdStrike by APR by 37 points to claim the championship.
“It’s just magical,” said Keating, who will drive for United Autosports next year. “I wasn’t planning on doing the full season. When I started the season, Pat Kelly was going to do the sprint races.
“He wasn’t able to do it, so I stepped in and we had a really good race and then we had another good race, and so we just kept going with it until the end. Just unbelievable.
“I love the guys at PR1 Mathiasen Racing. They’ve been such a great team. I’ve been with it for four years. You know, we won the championship in ’21, we won the championship in ’23.
“We won the North American Endurance Cup last year. So, we’ve won everything we’ve set out to win and it’s been incredible.”
#04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: George Kurtz, Ben Hanley, Nolan Siegel, #52: PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: Ben Keating, Paul-Loup Chatin, Alex Quinn, #35: TDS Racing, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: Giedo van der Garde, John Falb, Josh Pierson, podium
Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
Quinn, who will join Keating at United Autosports in 2024 in an endurance-only role, added, “It’s an amazing result. We worked so hard all year.
“Obviously, the two guys, Paul-Loup and Ben have done an amazing job when I haven’t been at the track as well.
“It’s been great and obviously, looking forward to being with Ben next year as well. He is a great guy. Really fast and, and enjoyable to work with.”