Heart of Racing's bitter pill at Petit Le Mans after an earlier boost down under

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Competing on extreme sides of the world at the weekend, the greater Heart of Racing Team faced up to both sides of the motor racing coin with both joy of another overall podium and Championship win at the final round of the New Zealand South Island Endurance Series but with a lonely, accident induced DNF of the latest round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship with their sister American car.

Having already secured both a win and a second placed finish so far this season, drivers Darren Kelly and Alex Riberas secured another P2 finish on Saturday aboard their #52 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 at the Levels Raceway near Timaru to secure the South Island Endurance Series itself. The team now move back north to finish off what they have already started within the North Island Endurance Series next week.

Both North and South Island Endurance Series meetings have been completed by the team in aid of the New Zealand Starship Foundation.

Back over at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, USA this weekend, the #23 AMR Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis, Ian James and a returning Darren Turner were back for the latest round of the IMSA Weathertech Championship for the annual 10 hours of Petit Le Mans.

Having started at the back of the grid of thirty-one cars, it looked like it was to be a long hard slog for nothing but even by the end of James’ opening stint, progress for the #23 car through the GTD pack was impressive as the cars recent Balance of Performance change had made it into a race car and not just another participant.

Under the clear blue skies of Road Atlanta, progress remained positive as the #23 forged its way into well within the top ten in class by the halfway point of the race and as the sun began to set beyond the tree line of the circuit. Then, in the dead of the night around the unlit circuit, De Angelis was to make inadvertent and unavoidable wheel to wheel contact with another GTD car.

Initial pitting for immediate repairs, the car did re-join the race but immediately pitted again from where it was to disappear behind ‘the wall’ and sadly not return. It was later confirmed that the unseen damage within the body of the car was just too great to repair safely in the time remaining for their efforts to be remain viable for a positive result. Heavy heads within the team were obvious as all their effort and recent Championship form had come to nothing.

With no time to dwell over what might have been, the team move onto the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks-time for the penultimate round of the 2020 season.

Photo credits – IMSA / HoRT

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