All to race for still by the Heart of Racing AMR crew in IMSA's closing events

Sunday, September 26, 2021


It was another difficult day at the office on Saturday for the two Heart of Racing Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTD’s at the latest round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship around the street circuit of Long Beach ,California.

The second meeting out west after Laguna Seca last week and the second time that the team had run both of their AMR’s, the team was hoping for better luck for the #27 AMR GTD of Ian James and Alex Riberas after their early exit last time out but more so for their Championship contesting #23 car of Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn.

Having enjoyed a long podium winning run earlier in the season, the #23 car has since been ‘hobbled’ with a lesser balance of performance regime than earlier, one that has had a massive impact on the car and crew’s performance.

Despite being spun out at Laguna Seca, De Angelis and Gunn battled back to claim a P5 finishing position to minimise the damage to their Championship aspirations, and that was a similar case on Saturday in Long Beach.

Qualifying P6 and P14 for De Angelis and James respectively, it didn’t take long for the field to spread out along the tight street circuit and an early FCY for debris helped to bring everyone back together again although the #23 car did lose a couple of places on the restart. Having gone back to green there was then some ‘good news’ for the #23 crew in the form of an unfortunate off for the Sprint Cup Championship leading BMW of Robbie Foley who would damage his car in the tyre wall and, although he would re-join the race would eventually retire the car before the end of the race.

With both cars pitting just after their first drivers minimum drive time was served, it would become a simple near one-hour sprint to the end for both Gunn and Riberas from their P8 and P11 at the time although being already over 17 seconds behind the class leading #1 Lamborghini.

Performance out of the corners was obviously an issue that both cars were combating against hence little competitive progress through the field despite their best of efforts. P6 was eventually the best that the #23 could deliver with the #27 coming home P12 in class for their first IMSA finish together.

Next time out for the GT cars will be a GTD/GTLM only affair around the picturesque circuit of Virginia International Raceway – an event that will serve as the penultimate round of the endurance series but also the final round of the Sprint Cup. In Sprint, the #23 car holds a slender 74-point lead whilst in the overall Championship they are 104 points in arrears – so all still to race for!!

Photo credits - HoRT ./ CSJ Motorsport / F Lagunas
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