Update from the Roar - and it wasn't all good news!!

Saturday, January 04, 2020

It's only the first racing weekend of the New Year and already we have already had contrasting news from the newly extended Aston Martin Racing family coming out of the IMSA Roar before the 24 official test from Daytona International Speedway today.

Buoyantly billed as the AMR V8 Vantage GT3 (GTD) inaugural event within the IMSA Series, this weekend should have seen two brand new AMR race cars settle themselves into their testing regime for an event mandated by the Series for all participants in the Rolex 24 Hours that takes place at the circuit in just three weeks time.

Whilst we have seen North America's latest AMR Partner Team and full season IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship GTD contenders, Heart of Racing settle themselves into their new chassis around parts of the infamous banked oval, today also saw confirmation that Paul Dalla Lana would no longer be taking an active part in the proceedings due to personal injury away from track.

With his supporting driver line up of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and event newcomer Ross Gunn all having arrived at the circuit after the festive break, the distinct lack of any running on day one by the #98 GTD crew highlighted that something was amiss. That was later confirmed in a statement earlier today by Aston Martin Racing confirming that the Canadian businessman had injured himself whilst on an earlier skiing holiday to an extent where he was thus unable to attend the mandatory test this weekend and putting his financially supported entry in jeopardy.

The team's statement described the injury as 'slight' and confirmed that Dalla Lana would now miss the Rolex 24 race itself later this month but would be fit enough to return to the next round of the World Endurance Championship in Texas next month. Confirmation about what will now happen with their supported #98 entry would be confirmed in due course.

Obviously a massive disappointment for all concerned (and we wish Paul a speedy recovery), that was more than countered by the obvious enjoyment that the Heart of Racing team and their driver line up of Alex Riberas, Roman de Angelis, Ian James and Nicki Thiim were getting out of their new #23 Vantage GTD entry.

Having seen their guesting AMR factory driver (Thiim) take the car out first around, the attending crowd were given their first opportunity of watching and listening to AMR's latest winning creation stretch its legs around the banking for the first time and from the sounds of the responses - that was something that they enjoyed immensely.

Running in a class of eighteen cars, the Heart of Racing crew have been busy getting their own drivers up to speed within the cockpit of the new Vantage for the first time as they worked on balance, set up, pit stop cycles, etc ahead of todays Qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. By the end of the third Free Practice session, the team had amassed nearly 90 laps worth of data to crunch over with their AMR factory engineers at the circuit this weekend with a best lap time of 1:48:074 - just under a second of the fastest car in the class in that session.

Rounding off the trio of Aston Martins at the event is of course the #99 Automatic Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Kris Wilson and Gary Ferrera who will again race in the supporting IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series.

No strangers to either circuit, team of race car, these two have been keeping themselves very much to themselves over the two days of testing so far finishing each of their three Free Practice sessions so far in a mid table position.

Hopefully we can get to hear more from these guys by the time their test sessions conclude tomorrow.

Photo credits - AMR / THOR / Brett Wasserman

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