IMSA: Pole position, race leaders and Daytona disappointment

United Autosports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona
United Autosports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona

Over the weekend, the United Autosports USA LMP2 duo took on the ultimate American endurance challenge in the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona - securing P6 (#2) and suffering a DNF (#22) during twenty-four hours of full-throttle racing. 

The #2 took pole position, courtesy of five-time Daytona polesitter Ben Keating, with the #22 lining up in P5. FCYs started in earnest from the first hour onwards, with numerous incidents and collisions throughout the race, which ultimately took five of 13 LMP2 contenders out of the running completely. 

Sadly, the #22 ORECA 07 was one of the retired LMP2s after heavy damage for Daniel Goldburg at the turn of the fifth hour – though, thankfully without injury. 

For the #2 crew, it was a dominant start. Nico Pino took the lead just after the one-hour mark, and the crew stayed upfront into the evening hours. Bodywork damage, however, which later required a nose and tail change, started to cause issues during the night and, despite the team’s best efforts, we couldn’t recover full performance.

The #2 led 208 of the first 336 laps - running in first place for more than 50% of the first half of the race - so to finish mid-field was heartbreaking after such a strong start. 

On Sunday at 13:40 local-time, Ben Hanley wrapped up the race with a double stint, bringing the #2 ORECA 07 home in sixth place. 

Stay up to date with the IMSA crew on social @unitedautosports as we prepare for the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 16th 2024. 

United Autosports #2 LMP2
United Autosports #2 LMP2

CAR #2

Ben Keating: “My race started very hot. Even though I only did a single stint, I’m very glad I only did a single! It’s such a long race so even though we started on pole, I wasn’t going to race anybody. The LMP2 car felt good, and the timing of going between two different cars worked out well. I ended up doing a total of 6 hours and 41 minutes between both. It’s a shame about the bodywork issue, but I will say I have put together the best possible team I could possibly put together to try to win this race 14 years in a row, and the only time I ever won it was with my back up car. So I think that every car in this race is a long shot because you never know what’s going to happen.” 

Pato O’Ward: “We’ve put in some hard work these last couple of weeks … far too much for a sixth place finish. I feel for everyone. It was looking really good, but then it seemed to turn upside down and we couldn’t recover. But it has been a very enjoyable experience for me with United Autosports USA… and I’m already excited for my next Rolex 24!” 

Ben Hanley: “The race started alright … it felt like we had decent pace at the beginning. Then we started having an issue with a panel on the car … that was an issue from mid-race really, causing multiple different problems which we were battling. The team did a great job - everyone got their heads together and that’s what got us to the end of the race.”

Nico Pino: “This was my first race with United Autosports. We started out very strong, taking the lead for the first half of the race. Ben [Keating], Ben [Hanley] and Pato all did an amazing job. But as soon as we got the damage half-way through, there was not much we could do. The second half was tough – it took a lot of work to cross the line sixth, but that’s racing sometimes. Now we need to analyse what happened, how to prevent it from happening again and of course, come back stronger for Sebring.”

United Autosports #22 LMP2
United Autosports #22 LMP2

CAR #22

Daniel Goldburg: “Some great things to take away but oh man, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m super disappointed in the results, and pretty hard on myself for what I could have done different. But … onward and upward! Bijoy had a really good stint and pulled away from the field. We know we have a super strong team and driver line-up for the year, so we just have to learn from this and come back ready to rock at Sebring.”

Felix Rosenqvist: “Tough break for the #22 – obviously, it’s tough not getting to drive at all but we all know there is a possibility of these things happening, and we win and lose as a team. I really enjoyed myself, being back in a sportscar again – and being with the United Autosports USA team. Hopefully we can have another crack at it sometime!”

Paul di Resta: “Firstly I want to say thank you to the team, for all the effort that has gone into this event. It shows how cruel this sport can be sometimes, to be out of the race so early. I feel for Daniel, it’s a lot of weight on his shoulders but sometimes, that’s what racing is. Credit to the team who are always in it to fight … it’s a shame we didn’t get to do that, but I’m sure we will through the rest of the season. We’ll reset and come out stronger for Sebring … but first it’s time for some reflection. We all feel the pain.” 

Bijoy Garg: “The stints I got to do were pretty good. The car felt good, it gave me confidence to push and when we did we were the fastest car on track so the potential was certainly there. We’ve got a very fast race car.”


Max Gregory: “That wasn’t the Daytona 24 that we were hoping for but there are some positives to take from it.  Both cars were incredibly competitive from the outset, it’s clear we have a great driver line-up and the pace to win which sets us up for an exciting 2024 season. 

Daniel had an unlucky incident in the #22, but the pace that both he and Bijoy showed in the early stages proved that - with a clean race - we could have been up there at the finish. 

The #2 car also proved its pace, dominating half of the race, but unfortunately it was the first half and not the last.  During the night we had to make bodywork repairs which ultimately put us one lap down.  We did everything we could strategically to get that lap back, but the FCYs we needed didn’t present themselves. 

Huge credit must go to our staff and car crews who have worked tirelessly throughout the lead up and the race itself.  Our cars were fast and reliable, but this year just wasn’t our year.  We are now looking forward to Sebring - a track we enjoy as a team. We have achieved LMP2 success there in the WEC, which we hope to translate to the IMSA championship.”